My Favorite Things: Trader Joe's

I know, I know, the title of this post seems like a no-brainer. Who doesn't love Trader Joe's? Over the last few weeks, my husband and I have really been trying to eat healthier. I had to get rid of every treat in our house! Yes, even the beloved Oreo Thins. (Those things are AMAZING if you've never tried them) It can be difficult to find healthy snacks or replacements for higher calorie staples like rice or pasta. I thought it might be fun to share my go-to items of the moment, the ones I just can't live without.

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Roasted Coconut Chips                                                                                                                                             I am ADDICTED to these. I just discovered them and have been eating them literally every day. If you are a coconut fan, you will love these too! They have the most perfect crunch and are sweet without going overboard. I love eating them by themselves or adding them to my yogurt and granola in the morning...YUM! I highly recommend giving these a shot. (160 Calories for half a bag!)

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Riced Cauliflower                                                                                                                                              While it is super easy to make your own cauliflower rice at home with a food processor, I love how this eliminates the mess. I like sautéing this with some garlic salt and using it as a base for taco bowls (ground turkey, black beans, and corn) or PF Chang's inspired turkey bowls. Totally worth having a bag (or two) on hand as a quick and incredibly healthy replacement for rice.

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Spicy Black Bean Dip                                                                                                                                          This stuff is amazing and so versatile! It goes amazingly well with an egg white omelet, pretzel sticks, or even vegetables. Be warned, once you start you can't stop. The good news is that two tablespoons of this stuff is only 30 calories -- that's crazy!

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Chicken Sausage                                                                                                                                                        These come in a number of flavors including: Sweet Italian Style, Spicy Jalapeño, Sweet Apple, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Sweet Basil Pesto. I love chopping this up, grilling some onions, and pairing it with cauliflower rice or spaghetti squash. Super yummy and a great alternative to traditional proteins like steak, chicken, or fish.

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Organic Fruit Wrap                                                                                                                                                    If you want a sweet treat without the calories, these are awesome. They are 100% fruit, vegan, and gluten-free (if you're into that sorta thing) My one suggestion for eating this is to peel back the wrap and eat rather than touching it with your fingers. These are super sticky, but oh-so-yummy!

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Gone Bananas                                                                                                                                                 Frozen chocolate covered bananas are the most amazing ice cream replacement! If you love getting these at Disneyland like I do, then these are a dream! They are bite sized pieces, so less mess, but don't let their size fool you! These babies taste just like their bigger brother - the full banana. (That sounded odd, but you know what I mean!)

If you haven't tried some of these, DO IT! I don't think you'll regret it. Can't wait to see what other discoveries I make at Trader Joe's on our journey to healthier eating. Until next time, friends!

xo, Nicole

My Favorite Things: The Lettermate

I have always been fascinated by calligraphy and the art of hand-lettering! If you like to pretend you can hand-letter like I do, or even if you actually have a talent for it, you NEED a Lettermate! This little tool saved my life this year while I was addressing Christmas cards. Last year, I sat there with a ruler and had to draw each line, spacing them as I went, needless to say, it took FOREVER! When I found the Lettermate through Pinterest it was like a little beacon of light and I just had to have one. Here are a few pictures from their site that show you some of the fun things you can use it for! LetterMate8

This perfectly spaced stencil is ideal for creating sharp looking hand-lettering! If you don't want to write while holding the stencil down, you can lightly trace the lines of the stencil and then erase them when you are done.

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This is one of my favorite looks you can achieve with the Lettermate. I love a cursive last name with a super cute simplistic font. I also adore placing the zip code on it's own line centered underneath everything else, seriously...I do it every single time. #sorrynotsorry

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Little embellishments add that extra something special that lets your recipients know that you took the time to hand address their envelope. One of my current favorite things to do is a simple arrow beneath the zip code!

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I also love adding words like "Deliver To:" or "For the One and Only:" I feel like a cute little phrase makes that piece of mail all the more fancy and who doesn't want to be fancy?

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You can see videos of the Lettermate in action here! This tool is honestly such a great investment and I cannot recommend it enough! Hopefully, one day I will be even half as good as the lovely hands that created the examples I shared above! But, until then, I will keep trying out new ways to make my mail look extra special using this awesome little helper!

(I was certainly not asked by Lettermate to share about them, nor am I affiliated with them. I just really believe in their product! NOW GO BUY ONE!) :)

 

My Favorite Things: Ankle Boots

I have been LOVING wearing ankle boots this fall! They are so comfortable and really help bring an outfit to the next level. I personally do not wear high heels on a regular basis, so if the heel of this style of boot scares you, don't let it! Here are some cute, affordable (and I do mean affordable!) options that I found and wanted to share!

AztecBootI love the Aztec print of this boot! This type of pattern is very "in" right now and these go really well with a cute denim dress and a sun hat...flea market trip anyone? And you won't believe the price of these!

LuLusBlueThese navy boots have a fringe accent that I just adore! I love these moody rock n' roll booties and think they would be perfect to wear to a concert. I will definitely be ordering these for myself soon!

BlackCowboyThese cowboy boots are a fun alternative to the traditional mid-calf boot. Although I do think these are great for fall, they would also be perfect for summer BBQs or music festivals. Fun tip: Target also offers these in other colors!

JCPenneyRedThe color of these boots...I can't even handle it! This color is called "Bordeaux" and I love it! I honestly don't know if I could pick a more perfect Fall shoe color. These might be a bit trickier to wear, but I think the perfect outfit for these would be a black sundress, (yes, you can wear a sundress in California at this time of year) with a denim jacket over it. If you're really feeling festive you could even add a cute floppy style hat like this one!

BrownForever21The rich brown of these boots makes me want to throw on a flannel shirt and run through some fall leaves while holding a pumpkin. If only we had actual fall leaves and cold weather in California...sigh. But seriously, I love the warm, cozy feeling I get just from looking at these!

BrownFringeBootI actually own these boots and I am obsessed with them! They go so well with dresses! If you couldn't tell, I'm really into fringe right now, so the bohemian feel of these is right up my alley. Again, you can't beat the price on these either!

BlackHMChic. Cool. Fierce. I love these! The sharp details paired with a smooth finish make for an ultra sophisticated, yet edgy boot that would work amazingly well for a night on the town! These would be stunning with an all black outfit.

My Favorite Things: Cake Stands

Okay, okay, I know the title of this post seems a little redundant, I mean, who doesn't love cake stands? I, for one, adore them and have quite a few in my arsenal (and I'm sure I'll keep adding more) for any sweet treat that needs displaying. I think cake stands are one of the quintessential host/hostess staples that everyone needs. One of the best places to find affordable cake stands is actually Home Goods! They have several to choose from and they typically don't cost over $20. Because Home Goods doesn't have a website where you can see their merchandise, I'm going to go ahead and share some of my favorite internet finds!

PurpleGlassCakeStand

I love how ornate this stand is! It has that vintage, depression glass feel without the antique price tag. I also love not having to worry about breaking a family heirloom (I mean, it happens!) You can purchase this beauty here.

PBCakeStandThis pretty turquoise stand is from one of my favorite places, Pottery Barn! It has a classic design with a touch of that rustic/homegrown feel that Pottery Barn is known for! Check it out in this color and many others here!

LeCreusetCakeStand

I love this, I love this, I love this! The height is an awesome alternative as most bases are roughly around 6 inches tall. This stand is just what you need for a dessert table with varying heights to add dimension. They have other color options as well which you can take a look at here!

MosserCakeStand

This is one of my favorite designs! I have this stand in both Jadeite (pictured above) and a pretty pastel pink. These can be a little pricey, but the quality is incomparable. They are a gorgeous colored milk glass made by Mosser Glass Company. Check them out here at my go-to party supply site, Shop Sweet Lulu!

PinkGlassCakeStand

If you have never checked out BHLDN, you are missing out! They are purveyors of lovely bridal and party products! This adorable pink glass stand is perfect for a tea party. There are two sizes featured here.

MetalCakeStand

I have a galvanized cake stand exactly like this from Crate & Barrel, but unfortunately they have stopped selling it. At any rate, I was able to find a lovely substitute on Overstock.com! This is great if you like an industrial feel (and it's one that the men in your life won't think is too girly!). I use mine year-round, but especially during the fall! You can get your very own here.

WoodenCakeStand

Who say's cake stands are just for dessert? I think this pretty wooden stand would be ideal for cheese or bread (or both). It's nice to have a versatile piece like this one in your corner. You can purchase it here.

MacysStandDetails, details, details! This stand looks like it was picked up from a tiny shop in Italy or France, but it's actually from Macy's! This would pair quite nicely with wooden or galvanized details because of it's rustic design elements. Get one for yourself here.