Memorial Day Weekend (+ Summer) Getaway Bags

Can you believe that Memorial Day and July 4th weekend are just around the corner?! Summer is almost here, which means lots of weekend getaways and quick overnight trips. I don’t know why it seems so much easier to pack up and go in the summer season, but I love it!

After our recent weekend away in Vermont, I was looking through my duffles/totes and realized it was time for an upgrade. It’s so nice to have a grab-and-go bag that’s the perfect size to fit just the necessities for a few days, and I really needed a new one. I did some online shopping at a few of my favorite sites and wanted to share my tops picks for overnight bags. Key elements that I looked for: Stylish, sizable (but not HUGE), high quality, and at a reasonable price point. I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg, but you get what you pay for, and I wanted a bag that would get lots of use and last for a long time!

I hope these bag suggestions help you with your shopping and you snag one for a fun weekend getaway! Any guesses to which bag I ultimately purchased? 🙂

Tommy Hilfiger Classic Classic Tote Convertable Weekender Woven Rugby: I love the casual summertime look of this cute weekend tote. It has a convenient detachable shoulder strap, which is perfect for trips you might have overpacked or decided to carry light. The price tag isn’t too bad at $148, which might be a splurge, but it’s so versatile I could see myself using it for years.

Adidas by Stella McCartney Shipshape Bag: I love this combo of stylish (via Stella McCartney) mixed with sporty (via Adidas). The simple black and white goes with just about anything because, as you know, I’m super fashionable at all times and definitely don’t want to clash. I’m kidding, of course! But, for me, the basic colors make it easy to stay stylish without worrying about crazy color clashes. This bag also comes in pink and black, which is super cute. A slight splurge at $170, but I could totally use this as a gym bag, so it’s multi-purpose!

 

Lacoste Concept Travel Bag: How chic is this colorful bag? I’d love to use it for a romantic weekend getaway with Mal! 🙂 It’s a little fancier than the casual look I typically go for, but it’s definitely a beautiful bag. It’s also really roomy inside, so perfect for those of us who tend to overpack. At $120, it’s a nice treat to feel fancy for a weekend away. This bag also comes in black, navy, and orange.

Le Pilage Expandable Travel Bag: This is a super practical weekend bag for any ladies who love to shop on vacation and come back with more than they left with – or hey, you’re just an over-packer. No shame! 🙂 This bag expands and has lots of pockets to keep you organized. I always find myself digging to the bottom of a huge bag if there aren’t pockets to keep my smaller items nice and neat, so this bag really helps with that nonsense. It also comes in 9 colors, so lots of options! This is definitely the high-ticket purchase at $255, but you could always request it for your next birthday! Plus, it has so many awesome features, you’ll use it for years and years!

Sole Society Canvas Overnight Bag: I love this bag for its cute look and great price point. Who doesn’t love a deal! At only $75, this canvas bag could be dressed up or down to fit the occasion. My favorite feature is the separate bottom compartment designed to hold shoes you might not want to be mixed in with your clothes. It’s practical yet still stylish – my kind of accessory! This bag also comes in black and olive in addition to this natural color below.

Question of the Day

What do you look for in an overnight bag?

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Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowl

It’s “Cookie Friday,” so I figured it would be the perfect time to share this recipe. And, holy goodness, this Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowl is incredible. I’ve made it so many times in the past couple of weeks, and I still can’t get enough of it. I’m obsessed. It definitely satisfies a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie craving. Please try it and let me know what you think! 🙂

  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup almond meal or flour
  • 1 tbsp creamy almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips
  1. Combine above ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a microwave-safe bowl until fully blended. Microwave for 60 seconds. Grab a spoon, stir in chocolate chips, and eat!

Macros: P 11 C 29 F 27

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What I Ate In A Day + My #1 Macro-Tracking Tip

Hi, guys!

Just wanted to pop in and share a “what I ate in a day” blog post as well as my #1 tip for macro-counting, which makes tracking so much easier. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Breakfast: Homemade blue cheese turkey burger (just ground turkey, blue cheese, salt, and pepper baked in the oven) with arugula and Anne’s Dijon Mustard

After breakfast, I got Quinn ready for school, dropped him off, and then headed to OPEX for a workout.

After my workout, I spent a few hours at Rosa Farms working before heading home to take a shower and make lunch. I was more than ready to eat!

Lunch: Garlic drumsticks with roasted carrots, arugula, and avocado

After lunch, I got right back to work. Somehow, it’s already May, and I haven’t tracked any of my income or expenses for the year, so I popped into QuickBooks Self-Employed to settle up. If you’re self-employed and don’t have any sort of book/record-keeping in place, I highly recommend this service. It makes it soooo easy for you to track your income and categorize your expenses – it evens connects to your bank accounts and credit cards, so you don’t have to input any data. It also gives you “tasks” to do at the end of the year, which makes tax time a breeze! Big fan! #randomtangent

Snack: Rice cake with avocado, Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, and veggies

Dinner: Shredded lemon artichoke chicken (recipe coming soon to CNC) over broccoli, cabbage & carrot slaw (from Trader Joe’s)

Dessert: All the Seeds Protein Balls + La Croix coconut seltzer + a couple of handfuls of Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips (not pictured)

I actually tracked my macros this day. I didn’t hit my goals (I never do), but I came pretty close. For me, planning my macros ahead of time typically ensures that I come pretty darn close to meeting my goals for the day – and it’s easy to do! When you’re laying in bed at night, open up MyFitnessPal and swipe to the next day. Enter in everything you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, post-workout snack, etc. and adjust as necessary to hit your goals. Of
course, the next day, if you need to adjust a little bit here and there, that’s totally ok. What you set up ahead of time is an awesome plan and takes the work out of eating and planning. Now, all you have to do is follow it!

Pro tip: Pre-plan 2-3 days for the entire week and then rotate them. There’s no need to plan out (and prep for) 7 different days with all new meals and snacks. You can always make tweaks, but the base of your plan is set. This will save you time and help you stick to your plan!

Question of the Day

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being A LOT), how much do you like these “what I ate in a day” blog posts? Do you find them helpful? Interesting? Something else?

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Interview with Stop & Shop’s Registered Dietitian

I’ve partnered with Stop & Shop in bring you this blog post. As always, thank you for supporting CNC!

You guys know how much I love grocery shopping, right? There’s just something about cruising through the aisles, pursuing the shelves, and discovering new healthy products that makes it such an enjoyable time for me. Is it possible to love grocery shopping too much? 🙂 But, if you’re new to healthy eating, grocery shopping might just be the opposite. There are a lot of choices, including tons of seemly healthy products with all sorts of claims on them – everything from low-fat to sugar-free to reduced sodium to cholesterol free. Grocery shopping can be really overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for.

Stop & Shop is helping customers eat healthier and save time grocery shopping with a nutrition navigation program called Guiding Stars. Guiding Stars aims to take the guesswork out of nutrition by decoding labels into one clear rating that is easy to see while shopping. Instead of numbers, the Guiding Stars rating uses stars, which are consistent with national policies including Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate. Here’s how the rating system works:

    • 1 star means an item has GOOD nutritional value
    • 2 stars mean an item has BETTER nutritional value
    • 3 stars mean an item has THE BEST nutritional value

If no Guiding Stars symbol is shown, the item is either not nutritionally recommended, new to the program and hasn’t been rated yet, is less than five calories (such as water or tea), is a dietary supplement, medical food, such as baby formula, or the product does not have nutrition information available.

Label reading can be intimidating and time-consuming, so the Guiding Stars program is a simple way to provide clear answers and speed up the grocery shopping process. Even in the most rushed situations (i.e. shopping with a crying baby), you have the tools you need at Stop & Shop to quickly identify the food attributes that are important to you. It makes decisions easier, especially when standing in the cereal or bread aisle where there are so many choices and so many health claims on each of the items!

I had the opportunity to interview Julie Hersey, Stop & Shop’s Registered Dietitian, about Guiding Stars and how the program can help shoppers make informed, healthy choices, but also about her background as a dietitian. My ultimate goal – probably not until Quinn is a bit older – is to go to school for nutrition, so I’m obsessed with all things related to Registered Dietitians. Is that creepy? But, seriously, I love talking to people who know about nutrition, so this interview was especially cool for me – and I really loved her response to my last question! 🙂 Read on to see what she has to say!

Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

I love food, learning new things and helping people, so nutrition was a natural path. I was introduced to the topic of micronutrients in an elective biochemistry course in high school which made me look at the function of food in a different way. I love that nutrition knowledge can be practiced and applied to everyday life. Being a Registered Dietitian allows me to share my passion to improve health with others. It is my goal to make nutrition easy to understand and part of everyday habits.

What’s your favorite part about working as a dietitian for Stop & Shop? 

My favorite part about being a retail dietitian is that the grocery store is my office. I can spend hours walking the store exploring the assortment of current and new products, trends, innovations. Recently, I have begun to help handpick products for snack racks and recipes for “smoothies of the month”. I love to help people discover new products to enhance their lives, and to share healthy secrets and shopping tips for the grocery store!

If a customer is new to the Guiding Stars program, what should they do first? 

You should know that all fruits and vegetables earn at least one ‘star’ so you should make your first stop the produce department!

Guiding Stars rates foods using credits and debits for nutrients. The more stars, the more nutrients a food provides per 100 calories. Before you add an item to you cart, look to see if it has the Guiding Stars icon. You will be surprised to see that many of the foods on your weekly list earn ‘stars’. Each time you shop, look to add more products with even more stars to your cart.

What food item(s) surprised you most with regard to its Guiding Stars rating? 

I was pleasantly surprised that ‘salty & sweet snacks’ like popcorn, baked potato chips and granola bars meet criteria to earn ‘stars’.  You will find these items are lower in added sodium, saturated and trans fatty acids and are higher in vitamins and minerals. Many manufacturers have altered their recipes to use healthier oils or other ingredients and limit sodium thereby making their product a more nutritious choice.

What’s something about the Guiding Stars program that most customers might not know? 

That it really works – the introduction of nutrition ratings helps shoppers buy a more nutritious mix of products and choose items with less fat and sugar, and more fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

What’s your favorite kitchen or recipe hack? 

Cooking eggs in the microwave. Beat eggs, chopped veggies and herbs in a microwave safe mug or bowl. Cook on high for about 45 seconds, stir and add a pinch of cheese (optional). Microwave another 45 seconds until cooked thoroughly. Let partially cool and add other toppings like hot sauce, avocado, or kimchi and enjoy!

What’s your go-to recipe for a quick and healthy dinner? 

Turkey tacos – we use our Nature’s Promise Free From ground turkey and add corn and black beans for more fiber and protein. I love to mix beans or chopped mushrooms into ground meat recipes to cut down on cost per portion and add more plant-based protein. My favorite part of tacos is offering tons of colorful toppings – avocado, scallions, salsa, chopped sweet bell peppers, thinly sliced radish, hot sauce, etc. I always double the recipe to repurpose into other weeknight meals like taco salad, quesadillas, nachos and chili.

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

I love variety and keep a handful of go-to weekday breakfast options to pick from depending on my mood, schedule and what’s in the fridge. Today was a “leftover” veggie scramble using my microwave egg method and close-to-expired veggies that I had on hand (cherry tomatoes, broccoli, scallions and avocado). Protein-rich and filling!

If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Peanut butter!

Question of the Day

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

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High Low High: Stowe, Vermont Weekend + Mother’s Day

Our trip to Stowe, Vermont was quite the weekend full of highs and lows. Our friends invited us, along with two other couples, to spend Friday and Saturday night at their condo at Top Notch Resort & Spa. (Remember when Mal and I stayed there back in 2010? It’s such a great place!) So, in total, were 9 of us – 8 adults and one almost 4 year old (Quinn), which made for an interesting dynamic, especially as the parents to the only kid on the trip. I think Mal and I were just overly sensitive to Qman’s behavior, but he did a great job hanging with a bunch of adults all weekend. Our friends were super understanding and accommodating, and we definitely had a fun weekend together! 🙂

FRIDAY

HIGH: Picking up Quinn and Mal early from school on Friday afternoon to drive up to Vermont!

LOW: OMG, SO MUCH TRAFFIC! It was brutal. It took us nearly 3 hours to get out of Massachusetts and poor Quinn got carsick and threw up.

HIGH: Stopping by Cousin Matthew’s house to drop off Murphy for the weekend. It was a nice break from the traffic madness!

HIGH: Arriving safe and sound in Stowe, Vermont at the most gorgeous condo with views that were even more stunning. Imagine waking up to this view every morning!

HIGH: Playing What Do You Meme? with our friends well into the evening and laughing so hard my face hurt. Best game ever!

SATURDAY

LOW: Drinking a half bottle of wine, going to bed at 1:30 AM, and waking up at 5:30 AM with our tiny human. Oy. #parentlife

HIGH: Discovering PK Coffee, which was right down the street and absolutely adorable. They had the best coffee and pastries!

HIGH: Having a nice little morning with my boys!

How cute are they?!

HIGH: Visiting a “Bar-cade” (aka arcade bar) in Burlington, which was so, so, so fun! Both little and big kids had a great time! 🙂

LOW: Trying to find a restaurant in Burlington to accommodate 9 people for lunch. We ended up at Church Street Tavern, which was fine, but we were all hoping for something else since the city has such great food options. The restaurant did make a mean grilled cheese sandwich!

LOW: Quinn didn’t eat breakfast, so we figured he’d be more than ready for lunch, but, again, he refused to eat, which ended up in a full on tantrum at the restaurant. #awkward

HIGH: Turning around the afternoon and playing in the heated pools at Top Notch!

HIGH: Dinner at Doc Ponds. I loved everything about this place – atmosphere, vibe, menu, food, drinks, service… literally everything! The burger and fries were especially amazing!

Note about the burger: I hadn’t eaten beef for about a year because it turned up as a sensitivity on the LEAP, but I had such a strong craving for one, I just needed to order it. Plus, I figured if I was going to order a burger in a restaurant, Vermont was a good place to do it. I also kind of wanted to see what would happen. #bodyexperiment End result: No issues AT ALL. I’m so glad I got it! 🙂

HIGH: Playing an epic game of Clue. I can’t even tell you the last time I planned this game, but it was so fun!

SUNDAY

LOW: Hoping to sleep in for Mother’s Day, but waking up with Quinn at 6:15 AM. Whomp whomp. We did have an awesome cuddle session on the couch though! 🙂

HIGH: Having a nice Mother’s Day celebration at PK Coffee with my boys. Quinn made me some pretty artwork and Mal (and Quinn and Murphy) got me the Fitbit Versa. I had wanted a tracker watch, but wasn’t sure which one to buy. Mal learned that the Versa has an in-app fertility/period tracker, so he knew I would love it. I’ll have to give you guys a full review once I’ve used it a little more. So far I’m loving it!

HIGH: The drive home from Vermont – I think it only took us 3.5 hours.

HIGH: Mal cleaning my car as a bonus Mother’s Day gift. My car was so disgusting, so I especially appreciated the gesture!

Question of the Day

Moms: How was your Mother’s Day?

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CNC Instagram Live #3

Hi, guys!

I recently started a weekly Instagram Live series on Thursday afternoons where I answer questions from blog readers and social media followers. I realize not everyone catches them before they disappear in 24 hours, so I thought I’d share them on the blog too. I hope you guys like this new feature – and please send any questions you might have for future episodes!

  • Our picky eater – new tactics we’re trying + his favorite foods
  • First steps to start losing weight
  • How not to let macro-counting take over your life
  • How a baby affected our marriage

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5/6: Fitness & Eats from the Week

Hi, guys! Happy Monday!

Even though it’s only been 3 weeks at OPEX, I’m already starting to feel some positive changes in my body – like feeling both sides of my lower back touching the car seat when I’m driving and sore abs on my RIGHT side, which has probably never happened ever. My left side is always super tight and angry, so it was a nice change. Things are definitely happening, and I’m so glad that I made this switch!

On the eats front, I enjoyed a lot of delicious meals out – locally at Rosa Farms and then over the weekend in Stowe, Vermont (recap coming soon). It was fun reliving them for this blog post – I love when my weekly recap includes so many tasty food photos! 🙂

FITNESS

MONDAY: OPEX

Warmup: 
Thoracic Mobility Exercises x 5 each
Banded Hip Flexor Stretch 1 min each side
Oblique Wall Stretch 1 min each side

A1) Dumbbell Reverse Lunge (Not Walking)

10/side alternating x 3 @2011, 20lbs, rest 45 sec

A2) Ring Row

8 x 3 @2011, rest 90 sec
*position feet so that 8 is challenging but not impossible

B1) Stability Ball Hamstring Curls

12 x 3 @3011, rest 45 sec

B2) Dual Dumbbell Neutral Grip Bench Press

8 x 3 @2010, 35lbs, rest 90 sec

C1) Sorenson

30 sec x 3, rest 30 sec

C2) Half Kneeling Single Arm Press

8/side x 3 @2010, 20lbs, rest 1 min

D) 5 Rounds, NOT Rushed of:

80 foot sled push +90lbs,
20 alternating supermans

Cooldown: 
ROTEX Inward Hip
ROTEX Outward Shoulder
ROTEX Full Body Rotation
ROTEX Pelvic Floor
ROTEX Upper Body Turn

TUESDAY: OPEX

Strength

Warmup: 
Thoracic Mobility Exercises x 5 each
Banded Hip Flexor Stretch 1 min each side
Oblique Wall Stretch 1 min each side

A1) Eccentric Single Leg Squat

8/side x 3 @2111, 12″ box, rest 90 sec

A2) Supinated Band Assisted Pullup

8-9 x 3 @2010, red band, rest 90 sec

B1) Single Leg RDL’s

8/side x 3 @3011, 30lbs, rest 45 sec

B2) Seated DB Press on Ground

8 x 3 @2010, 20lbs, rest 90 sec

C1) Lateral Banded Walk

20 steps each way x 3, blue band, rest 30 sec

C2) Dumbbell Row

8/side x 3 @2011, 30lbs, rest 1 min

D1) Shoulder I, Y, T

8 each x 3 @2110, 5lbs, rest 30 sec

D2) Front Leaning Rest on Rings

45 sec x 3, rest 1 min

Cooldown: 
ROTEX Inward Hip
ROTEX Outward Shoulder
ROTEX Full Body Rotation
ROTEX Pelvic Floor
ROTEX Upper Body Turn

WEDNESDAY: OPEX

Strength

Warmup: 
Thoracic Mobility Exercises x 5 each
Banded Hip Flexor Stretch 1 min each side
Oblique Wall Stretch 1 min each side

A1) Single Leg Banded Hip Thrusts

8/side x 3 @2011, red band, rest 45 sec

A2) 2 point Row

8/side x 3 @2010, 20lbs, rest 90 sec

B1) Anti Rotation Band Hold

30 sec/side x 3, red band, rest 30 sec

B2) Standing Oblique Crunch

8/side x 3 @2010, 35lbs, rest 30 sec

B3) Forearm Plank Reach

10/side x 3, rest 1 min

C) 4 Rounds @ steady pace, but NOT rushed:

30 cal AD ~50rpm,
50 meter single arm farmers walk/side 44lbs,
8 side plank rotations/side
15 sec Thoracic Wall Stretch/Activation – left hand press only

Cooldown: 
ROTEX Inward Hip
ROTEX Outward Shoulder
ROTEX Full Body Rotation
ROTEX Pelvic Floor
ROTEX Upper Body Turn

THURSDAY: REST

FRIDAY: CROSSFIT

SATURDAY: REST

EATS

Almond butter toast with fresh blueberries, shredded coconut, and honey from Rosa Farms– So yummm!

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowl – I was obsessed with this single-serving treat last week!

Avocado toast with sliced tomato and sesame seeds from Rosa Farms– I actually ate 3 slices for lunch the other day and, boy, was a filling and delicious meal!

The “Doc Burger” from Doc Ponds – Made with a special sauce and Vermont cheddar. It was incredible!

The “Devin” from PK Coffee made with housemade almond milk and maple syrup – It was basically heaven on earth with a few bites of blueberry crumble.

Almond butter bar from PK Coffee – I’m not sure exactly what was in it, but it was almond-butter based with honey, nuts, and seeds. I wonder if I could recreate the recipe at home?

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