Monday, August 22, 2016

What I've been eating

My go to breakfast the past few weeks has been plain greek yogurt mixed with lots of strawberries and blueberries plus Truvia or honey to taste. The reason this was something special to me was because I went with PLAIN Greek yogurt. When I realized how much sugar was in flavored yogurt, I decided to give plain a shot. Mixing in a packet of Truvia or honey totally transforms the flavor from something bitter and bland to subtle and sweet! I definitely recommend making the switch to plain yogurt if you're trying to cut down on unnecessary sugar.

My go to lunch has been making a simple salad with whatever veggies I have on hand. Most recently it has been cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, feta cheese, a dollop of hummus, a splash of lemon juice, a drizzling of olive oil, and finally cracked salt and pepper. I've been really enjoying the texture and flavor hummus gives to salad.

Dinners are all over the place because Chris and I enjoy trying out new recipes together. One easy go to is a flatbread pizza on naan bread. I got this stonefire garlic naan and covered it in olive oil, pizza sauce, cheese, and chicken. Chris does the same thing but on a gluten free pizza crust. We baked them for about 7 minutes on 400 and they were totally delicious!

ANDDD for the junk food. Because honestly, I eat junk way more than I'd like to admit. I like going to fun places and eating and drinking fun things. One treat Chris and I indulge in is the "craft soda" section of our local grocer. It's only $3.99 for a 4 pack, so we usually pick up 4 new sodas each week!

That's all, folks! I hope you enjoyed my current go to meals. Until next time... :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A trip to the Wisconsin state fair + my tips for a successful day at any fair

I've always loved state fairs. When I was a kid, I considered the day my mom took off of work to take me to the fair a legitimate holiday. That love hasn't died as I've grown to adulthood. If anything, it's grown. So much so that since I missed the state fair in my childhood home, Chris and I drove from Chicago to Wisconsin to go to their state fair instead. On a related note - how lucky am I to have a boyfriend that loves state fairs as much as me loves me enough to drive across the state to go to a state fair?! 

What is it that I love about state fairs (besides everything)? It's the little things. I love the colors. I love the smells and the tastes. I love the feelings. State fairs are a quintessential summer experience for me. 

Sometimes I get overwhelmed, though, because I want to see and hear and taste everything there is to offer. Because I consider myself somewhat of a state fair visiting pro, I want to offer my tips for an awesome experience as well as share a bit of my experience from this year. 

The food. Let's be real. Most of the reason why people go to state fairs is to eat. At that, most people go to eat ridiculously unhealthy food. I'm not here to tell you to eat healthy or provide healthy eating tips for a fair (which if that's important to you, all the power to ya). It just isn't important to me. I'm all about going to the fair to indulge in whatever strikes my fancy. And that's my tip. Eat whatever strikes your fancy! However, don't spend all your money in one place. Half of the fun is exploring different stands and getting a sampling taste from as many places as you want. Make sure that you try the local favorite at the festival that you're visiting. From the research (limited albeit) that I performed, I picked up that Wisconsin is known for their cream puffs and cheese curds. Fried veggies are a personal favorite of mine that are a "must" at every festival. I also like to get ice cream from the dairy barn as well as roasted corn on the cob. 

The experience. Of course, there is more to a state fair than food (believe it or not). For a lot of people, that may just be people watching and strolling. Especially as I've gotten older, that's been a lot of the draw. Still, there are a few things that I believe are not to be missed. One is walking the ride midway. Marvel at the adorable baby rides, the thrilling big kid rides, or just how those things are legal being pieced together with zip ties and cinder blocks. Chris and I rode the flying bob sled ride, went through a fun house, and played the game where you choose a rubber ducky. Classics. I think that stopping in the agriculture, crafting, 4H, animal, and commercial pavilions are important, too! I make it a priority to see at least one pig and cow at each fair I visit. What can I say, I'm a city girl! It's fun to visit the agriculture building to learn a thing or too about farming and sustaining the environment. The commercial building is a great way to beat the heat in mid afternoon as well as see all of the late night informercial products live and in person (thrill of a lifetime, I know). Most of my snapshots from this fair are from the ride midway. The colors were just so appealing! PS: Ferris wheels, merry go rounds, and giant swings are some of my favorite things in life. Aren't the swings just beautiful? However, I was too scared to ride them this year. Those things are held up by only four, thin, metal chains! 

Finally, I figured I should address what to wear. I'm a goof and was having too much fun to pose for pictures to get a snapshot of my outfit. By the time I got home, I was too sweaty and dusty to be photographed. The only thing on my mind was getting a shower - STAT. Can that be a tip? Shower the second you get home. Your tired and dirty legs will need it. Anyways, the picture below gives you a bit of an idea of what was on my body. Chris wore a light weight, woven shirt and comfortable blue walking shorts. He isn't one to wear tennis shoes with a woven shirt usually, but didn't want to get his casual loafers dirty or consider his flip flops good enough walking shoes. I went with a pair of Tevas for my feet (I've worn these things CONSTANTLY this summer. They are a great price point and SO comfortable. At first I thought they were ironically cute. Now that they've grown on me, I think they are pretty legitimately cute). I wore a comfortable shift dress. I think wearing a dress to a fair is fine, especially if you aren't climbing on and off any rides with kids or anything. Most of the day is spent walking around or sitting at a table or bench. I wore this terry dress from Vineyard Vines. Beware - it runs VERY big. Size down one or even two sizes.

Jelly Belly was sponsoring this day and giving away free jelly beans. I'm aware that this picture is ridiculous and makes us look like Katniss and Peeta about to eat the berries in the Hunger Games. 
Well, there it is! The conglomerate recap + tips for an awesome fair experience. Are there any experiences that are traditional, summer "musts" for you? Do you have any favorite state fair traditions? Let me know down below in the comments! If you want more constant updates of my summer adventures, follow me on Instagram at xoheatherotto. Thanks for reading, friends! 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Things I loved in JULY

I have to say, July was AWESOME. I took a week long road trip (a post to come on that later), moved to a new apartment, and enjoyed an entire month off of teaching. What more can you ask for?

Truth be told, I love a "favorites" post no matter how stereotypical they may be. When I'm reading them, it gives me a glimpse into someone else's life and helps me to discover new things. Plus, I've been itching to write, and what better way to get back into it than with a favorites post? 

So here it is: Things I've been loving in July!

I've worn it as a cover up at the lake house, a casual top with shorts, and a dressed up top with nice jeans. It is made out of Vineyard Vine's performance material, so it is super cool to wear outside on a hot day but still provides coverage on the arms. Most of all it is just so comfortable. I love the breezy shoulder detail and the color is super flattering. It's just a great staple to have in your closet! *Full disclosure - I bought this during the "Whale of a Sale" so I got an extra 50% off the sale price. 

My mom was kind enough to gift this to me for my birthday and I've been carrying it nonstop. Dooney and Bourke is a brand I've loved since high school for quality leather and cute designs. The pebble leather is durable enough for me to not feel bad taking it out on everyday adventures, and it has an adorable red interior. I keep my phone and a lip gloss in the front pocket for easy access. *Full disclosure - My mom got this on super sale at Macy's and payed significantly less than the full price. Score! 

Lush is awesome. I go to Lush every few months to update my beauty regimen, and every single time I go in they try to sell me on Ultrabland. I know that this stuff is a cult classic, but I've always avoided it thinking that it was too oily or too heavy. It feels thick and greasy to the touch, but on the skin it is light and soothing. The Lush people have assured me that skin is rebalanced by the soothing oils in Ultrabland, and I have finally come to believe them. It takes my makeup off like a breeze and leaves my skin feeling clean without feeling that dreaded "squeaky" clean. 

Truth be told, I really don't know what I'm doing with my eyebrows. I used to use the Gimme Brow gel which I loved, until the friendliest Ulta employee ever suggested this to me. It is a super waxy, yet pigmented pencil that makes filling in your brows easy enough that anyone, including me, can do it. My makeup routine has been paired down to tinted moisturizer, under eye concealer, setting powder, blush, mascara, and this eyebrow pencil. *Thinking about doing a post on my summer makeup routine soon!! :)

How I Met Your Mother

Now that I'm finished binging Gilmore Girls, I needed a new tv show. Despite its popularity in the past few years, I somehow missed the How I Met Your Mother train. Something about the show never struck my appeal, but boy was I wrong. It's intelligent, thought-provoking, endearing, and overall entertaining. If you need something to watch with your morning cereal or during your in-between from after work to dinner - this is your new show. 

Have you tried any of these things? Did you have any extra special favorites of July? Let me know! :) Until next time... 

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