An Ode to My Favorite Bar: LÄRABAR Giveaway!

This post is sponsored by LÄRABAR. All opinions–as always!–are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible.

I eat a LÄRABAR almost every single day. If you were to open up our kitchen cabinet doors at any given time, you’d be sure to find Blueberry Muffin (my favorite) and Coconut Cream Pie (Joe’s) Larabars in there. On mornings I teach, I wait to have my real breakfast until after I’m done with classes, so to fuel me through instructing I grab a LÄRABAR on my way out the door. Yes, this is a sponsored post, but for realz yo, these are hands down my favorite snack bars and have been for a couple years now.

The first LÄRABAR I ever tried was the cashew cookie and I remember looking at the ingredients and not even believing what I read. That’s it?! Yup. Just cashews and dates, simple as that. All the core bars have just 2-9 ingredients in them.

And that’s why I love LÄRABAR: simple, real food ingredients. It’s food made from … wait for it, wait for it … food. Personally, I don’t count calories or macros or any sort of numbers. What I do pay close attention to is ingredients. What am I eating? If I were to whip up a batch of snack bites at home, I’d opt for pretty much exactly the same ingredients that are found in Larabars. In that way, they’re like a homemade snack without having to clean my food processor. Holler!

As much as the bars themselves, I love the company’s mission. LÄRABAR was established on the idea that real food should be accessible for all. They combined a blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices in a convenient, on-the-go package. And I like that I don’t have to trek to Whole Foods or a health food store to get them–most the time I just pop into CVS.

Anyone else think of that old TV show Weeds when you listened to the song in the above video?? I was obsessed with the first few seasons of it in college. Anyway …

Reader Giveaway

One reader will win a LÄRABAR Real Food Prize Pack including:

  • 12 original Larabar flavors
  • S’well water bottle
  • Real Food tank top
  • Fruit push pins
  • Floral cloth bag

TO ENTER

Leave a comment on this blog post with the ingredients of your favorite LÄRABAR. Don’t know the ingredients? Visit Larabar.com to find out (website will open in a new tab so you can easily come back here to comment!). I’ll pick a winner randomly Wednesday night. My favorite is Blueberry Muffin: dates, cashews, blueberries, blueberry juice concentrate, lemon juice concentrate and vanilla extract.

Good luck everyone! 🙂

Grapefruit Mimosas with Frozen Berries (+Giveaway)

Happy Friday! This weekend I turn 29 (what??) and I fully plan on celebrating with a couple of these champagne cocktails at Sunday brunch. A traditional mimosa is made with orange juice, but I’ve always preferred grapefruit juice (trust me). Adding frozen berries makes for a pretty and delicious garnish while also keeping the drink chilled. Just three ingredients so it’s a totally doable cocktail if you’re hosting guests or celebrating a special occasion. 

You’ll get sweetness from the berries and juice, so I’d stay away from using a sweet champagne or sparkling wine for mimosas. I’m using Belaire Brut (this isn’t a sponsored post, but they did send me a gift package of bubbly–thanks, Belaire!). With champagne and sparkling wine, “brut” means it’s dry or unsweetened. Belaire is a great option because it’s champagne quality at half the cost. After all, unless you’re Lil’ Wayne, you wouldn’t dilute a ridiculously expensive bottle of champagne with fruit juice. 😉

Grapefruit Mimosas with Frozen Berries

Grapefruit Mimosas with Frozen Berries

Ingredients

  • Brut champagne (or sparking wine of choice)
  • Grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed or bottled, but avoid sweetened juices)
  • Berries of choice (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)*

Instructions

  1. If you buy fresh berries, put them in an airtight container in the freezer the night before you plan to enjoy the mimosas.
  2. The ratio of champagne to grapefruit juice should be roughly 2:1 or 1:1, depending on your taste preference.
  3. Drop in a couple frozen berries and enjoy!

Notes

*You can buy frozen berries, but if you're concerned about presentation, I'd recommend buying fresh berries and then freezing them overnight yourself (they'll look "prettier").

http://pumpsandiron.com/2017/01/06/grapefruit-mimosas-with-frozen-berries-giveaway/

If you’re hosting a daytime event, you could use this basic combo (champagne + fruit juice + frozen berries) to set up a make-your-own mimosa bar. Set out the champagne, juice options (I’d recommend orange juice, grapefruit juice and pomegranate juice) and frozen berry options (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries). Let guests create their own mixture–really can’t go wrong with any of those combos!

Reader Giveaway

I’m teaming up with my friend at Luc Belaire (the phrase “my friend at” is tossed around a lot in the blogging world but I mean friend friend–we went to high school together!) to give one reader a case of bubbly. You’ll get six bottles, two of each expression (Brut, Rose and Luxe). You’ll also get four Belaire glasses and a limited-edition backpack designed by street artist Ben Eine.

You must be 21 to enter. Giveaway is open to US residents. There are two ways to enter. You can follow me and Belaire on Instagram or, if you’re not on Instagram, you can leave a comment on this blog post telling me what your favorite cocktail or mocktail is. Use the widget below to record your entry/ies. I’ll pick a winner Monday. Good luck!

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Cheers to the weekend! 

A Day in the Life: When Blogging Is Not Your Average 9 to 5 (+Giveaway)

A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the BlogAs promised, I’ve got another day-in-the-life post, this one documenting a hands-on, active blog work day. If you missed my first post, here’s a day of desk-job blogging. For today’s I thought it’d be interesting to tie in one of my current blog partners as well so that you get a peek into what the interaction with product sponsors is like.

Orchard Valley Harvest has two new fruit and nut mixes available as Multi Packs (eight, one-ounce pouches), and as they’re delicious, I was excited to team up with them. As part of the project they sent me a bunch of samples of the Omega-3 and Antioxidant mixes and when you combine edible free gift packages with a work-from-home job, the result is often nonstop snacking. I’ve been on a three-pack-a-day habit, and as I was documenting my day for this post and realized every other picture was me eating a nut mix pack, I decided that this should be the feature. So while, yes, Orchard Valley Harvest is a partner of this blog post, the copious mentions are by no means forced. You try looking at snack-sized portions of nuts all day without going to chow town on them! 😉

This post was my day Wednesday–on the calendar for me was a video shoot and recipe test.

A Day in the Life: When Blogging Is Not Your Average 9 to 5

5 AM | Wake up, flawless

A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the BlogHair on fleek, face on fleek, breath on fleek. I had stayed up until 2AM watching election coverage against my better judgement (I couldn’t have slept if I tried) so I wouldn’t exactly say that alarm was welcomed. But one good thing about my late night was that I had the time to brew a big pot of coffee to have in the refrigerator for the morning. A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

I downed a glass of water and my vitamins (MegaFood vitamins can be taken on an empty stomach–score!); poured a little almond milk into my iced coffee; and grabbed a snack to keep me energized through my classes.

6 – 9AM | Teach

A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

shirt c/o Fabletics // Booty By Brabants leggings // ToeSox grippy socks

On Wednesdays I teach three classes at Btone’s Back Bay studio. I don’t do the workout while teaching (I demo exercises and then walk around correcting form) so teaching three isn’t as daunting as it may sound.

9 – 9:30AM | “Me” time

I just could not shake the sadness I felt about the election, so as I walked home through the Public Garden and Commons, I decided to take a few minutes to sit on a bench, clear my head and meditate. I’m about to sound like a total weirdo, but I have a favorite bench in the Public Garden (sure, why not) and any time it’s unoccupied on my walk home from teaching in the morning, I take it as a sign I should stop for 5-10 minutes, sit down and meditate. A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

I meditated for about 10 minutes and then continued to sit there calmly, appreciating the beautiful city I call home and the crisp fall weather. In all it was only about 20 minutes out of my morning, but it really helped set the tone for a productive, positive day. Remind me again why I don’t do this every morning?? A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

On the walk home, I ate the Omega-3 Mix that was still in my purse (I surprisingly wasn’t hungry while teaching).

9:30 | Breakfast

A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the BlogI had some leftover roasted veggies in the fridge from last night’s dinner so I reheated those and spread them over a piece of toast and a fried egg. Easy, yummy, filling. I had roasted the veggies in cumin, paprika and cayenne so breakfast had a bit of a kick to it which I love.

10 – 1:30 | Shoot three videos (two workouts and a form tutorial)

A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the BlogGoing into a shoot, I already have the workouts planned out. I have a notebook that I write them down in along with recipes in the works and any other blog content ideas I come up with throughout the week. I also plan the outfits the night before so that I can be sure to incorporate any new activewear I haven’t yet worn on the blog. There are other little considerations that also need to go into the outfit planning: If it’s a sponsored post, I often need to make sure no other brand labels are visible; if it’s a tutorial on form, I try to wear a tight-fitting top instead of a loose muscle tank so that you can more clearly see my body alignment. I had these three outfits already planned: A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

After almost a year of using Breather room rentals for video shoots, I’m done with the service. At first I had credit with them, but the credit has dried up and their prices have risen so it doesn’t make sense for me to spend $30-60/hour to shoot blog content. Plus, lugging workout equipment to the rooms was buh-ru-tal.

My apartment is not by any means ideal for shooting workouts. The bedroom is the only room with natural light but there’s not a ton of space so I have to push the dresser out of the bedroom and into the living room in order to shoot. Still way more convenient than shooting elsewhere though! Eventually I need to come up with a better solution but my motto with blogging has always been “Do the best you can with what you have,” so this will be a-ok for now. 🙂

Joe and I are messy, so in addition to moving my dresser, I have to spend some time cleaning before I can shoot. And in our defense, there is a big difference between messy and dirty, and we’re just messy. I scrub the bathrooms, do the dishes, dust, vacuum–I have a sanitary home, I promise. I just also happen to throw my clothes all over the place when getting dressed and haven’t made the bed in, oh I don’t know, five years.

I start with ambitious cleaning goals before shooting workouts but usually end up just pushing my heaps of clothing out of the video frame. Here’s the side of the room that’ll be in the shot vs. the side of the room behind the camera: A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

L.O.L.

My least favorite part of days when I have to be in the pictures is making myself look presentable (wow I’m really making myself seem like a slob in this blog post, huh??). I’m unskilled and uninterested when it comes to hair and makeup but I cover the basics before putting on my first outfit. When choosing the order of videos to shoot I usually save the sweatiest workout for last so that I don’t look like a hot mess in the others.  A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

Usually between two and fifteen things don’t go as planned during shoots (another reason it makes sense to do them in my apartment!). The three I did that day went fairly smoothly, but I shot the last workout and as I watched it back realized how obnoxious these cables look: A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

Do I re-shoot it somewhere else? Where? They’re threaded into the wall so I can’t remove the cables. Ughhh. Might just call it a wash and post to YouTube, cables and all. A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

In between shooting, I had two more Orchard Valley Harvest mixes. The first one because I was hungry; the second because, well, you try working four feet from your kitchen. 😉

1:30 – 3 | Recipe testing for lunch

A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the BlogI had a baked oatmeal recipe I wanted to test out and planned ahead to have all the ingredients on hand. It’s a recipe I’ve played around with before so I was hoping I’d nail it this time and be able to photograph it for the blog. Success! I shot the pretty oatmeal cups by my bedroom window and enjoyed a couple for lunch.

3-6 PM | Emails, social scheduling, class planning

By now my energy is starting to wane (staying up until 2AM will do that to you), and while I had high hopes of editing all the video material I just shot, I needed to call it a day with that. Instead I spent a couple hours digging myself out of the never-ending email hole I’m in, scheduling posts for Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, and planning the next day’s class.

6PM | Veg Out

img_5849I had plans to get out of the apartment, grocery shop and make a nice dinner but I’m clearly not in my early 20s anymore because that whole three hours of sleep thing knocked me on my ass. How did I used to pull all-nighters in the library (…and club, let’s be honest here) during college and still be fully functional the next day? How?? Oh, to be young again. 😉 A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the Blog

I lounged on my couch reading (just finished Still Life, which I’d summarize as a good–not great–murder mystery), and instead of grocery shopping and cooking, Joe brought me home a bowl from Sweetgreen (Earth Bowl, no chicken = my go-to order).

8:30PM | Bedtime

With another 5AM wake up ahead of me, I went to bed early and it was glorious. I’m actually surprised I even managed to stay up that late.

Reader Giveaway

A Day in the Life: Creating Content for the BlogOrchard Valley Harvest is giving one reader a prize package of these two mixes AND a $50 Visa gift card. The Antioxidant Mix is a blend of roasted almonds, dried sweetened cranberries, blueberries, roasted cashews and pepitas. The Omega-3 Mix is a blend of walnuts, dried sweetened cranberries and blueberries, almonds and pistachios. Both are delicious, non-GMO and free of artificial ingredients. Score!

Use the widget below to enter the giveaway. I’ll pick a winner Monday evening. Good luck!

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Have you tried Orchard Valley Harvest’s fruit and nut mixes?

Did you stay up late to watch the election or wait until the morning to see the results?

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Orchard Valley Harvest. The opinions and text are all mine.