Salata Kid’s Bento Boxes and a Giveaway!

Disclaimer: I recently partnered with Salata as a Salata Select Blogger to bring you exciting news and information about the new salad offerings from Salata all year long. I received a gift card to purchase my salad but all opinions are my own.


Yesterday, we took a trip to Salata – a build your own healthy tossed-to-order-salad bar. My stepmom and Dad also came with us and this was their first time at Salata. They loved it and everyone had fun creating their own salad creations.


Salata recently starting offering kid’s bento boxes which was a huge hit with my kids.



The kids get a bento style box and they get to chose five ingredients, one protein, and a dressing or peanut butter. Jaden isn’t really a huge fan of meat so he went with some pasta instead. Jacob got turkey as his protein.


Both the kids loved being able to pick out all their own food and getting it in a separated box. Jaden is very unhappy when his food touches so he was very happy with the little dividers in the bento box. Jaden opted out of dressing and Jacob tried the honey mustard dressing which he loved.


Besides salads, Salata also offers wraps which is what my dad ordered. They toss all the lettuce and ingredients you pick in a large bowl and then add it all to a wrap.


I love salad bars where I can pick my own toppings and added a bunch of different items to my salad. I got romaine and spring mix lettuce, carrots, onions, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, apples, smoked turkey, croutons, and falafel. I added the mango dressing on the side which was amazing.


I love the variety of fresh ingredients that Salata offers – fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, cheese, chicken, turkey, seafood, croutons, breads, falafel, soups, and desserts. There’s something for everyone and now even kids can  get their own meals! Of course, kids can always order a regular salad too but my kids loved the bento boxes.

Salata is partnering with Texas-based suppliers to provide new ingredients and offerings now through October 31st including:

  • Pecans from the state tree of Texas sourced from San Saba Pecans in San Saba, Texas
  • Goat cheese from Cheesemakers in Cleveland, Texas
  • A Texas-inspired dry rub barbecue chicken, handcrafted by Salata
  • Prickly Pear lemonade, inspired by the state plant of Texas, and crafted exclusively for Salata by JuicedUp Drinks in Houston

To celebrate its anniversary, Salata will offer giveaways in all stores and on social media on October 14th. Guests can also buy a salad or a wrap at the 2005 price of $5, with a small upcharge for chicken or seafood, when then mention “Happy Anniversary Salata” at the register!


Salata has a great giveaway for you guys today!! One winner will win a Salata tumbler, bag, and a $50 gift card!! 

*****Salata is not available in every state so please check out Salata locations here. Open to U.S. residents only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Filed under Fun, Giveaway, Lunch, Product Review

Honeycrisp Apple Cider Sangria Recipe and Halloween Drinks

Good morning!

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile now then you know that my family is very big into Halloween. Well, my dad is very big into Halloween – the rest of us just go along with it and enjoy it. :)

My dad always has lots of Halloween activities planned for October and last night we kicked off the Halloween season with a bonfire and a Halloween drink night. We all came up with a grown-up Halloween drink and shared them last night. Some drinks were for a visual effect, some drinks were for taste, and some were for both.


I made a Honeycrisp apple cider sangria. I saw an apple cider sangria recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction and used that as a base for my own sangria recipe. Her recipe is made with red wine but I prefer white wine. The sweeter, the better. :) But this recipe was’t overly sweet. I loved how it turned out!


Honeycrisp Apple Cider Sangria Recipe


  • 750mL bottle white wine (I used Moscato. You can also use a red wine if you prefer or a different white wine.)
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 medium sized Honeycrisp apples, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • orange, sliced thin
  • juice from one lemon
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (more for garnish if desired)
  • club soda
  • Optional: cinnamon and sugar to rim glasses

This sangria is best made ahead of time so the flavors can combine. I made mine the in the morning and let in sit in the fridge until evening. Also, this is a great recipe to customize to your liking. If it’s not strong enough, add a little more wine. If it’s too strong, add a little more apple cider. If it isn’t sweet enough, add a little bit of sugar.


  • Add cinnamon sticks, apples, and oranges into a pitcher. Stir in wine, apple cider, lemon juice, and orange juice.
  • Let sit in fridge for 6-24 hours.
  • If desired, mix cinnamon in sugar in  bowl, wet glass rim, and dip into cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  • Pour sangria into glasses and add a splash of club soda on top. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired.
  • Drink responsibly and enjoy!


Everyone’s drinks came out great! Danny made a Jack O Lantern drink made with honey Jack Daniels.


My brother made a gross swamp water drink – luckily it didn’t taste gross!


My sister-in-law’s drink was delicious! It was like drinking a dessert. It was a float drink made with apple pucker, ice cream, and whipped cream. I drank mine and half of Danny’s. :)

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My dad’s drink was the most visually appealing and I loved his touch of using beakers as glasses.


He used dry ice to make them smoke. We were very careful to not actually drink the dry ice. It was stop bubbling after a short while. I believe it was made with run, vodka, and lemonade. He used food coloring for the different colors.

It was a fun night to start the Halloween season! Have a great day!

  • Favorite adult drink?
  • Favorite Halloween activity?


Filed under Family Fun, Halloween

October 1st!

Good afternoon! Happy first day of October!!

Here are a few of my favorite posts from past Octobers:



Fall weather has officially arrived here in Chicagoland and it has been chilly the past couple of days! I love fall but I do miss the heat of the summer.

I started out my morning with some warm oatmeal on this chilly day.


I love topping my oatmeal with just a little bit of peanut butter – it makes it tastes so much better.

After breakfast, I went to the gym and did a really good workout that I adapted from a workout I saw on the NASM Facebook page.

I did each superset four times, resting 1-2 minutes in between supersets.

Superset #1

  • Chest press x5
  • Push-ups x10

(Rest after and repeat for a total of 4 times)

Superset #2:

  • Assisted pull-up machine x5
  • Medicine ball slams x 10

(Rest after and repeat for a total of four times)

Superset #3:

  • Dumbbell front squats x5
  • Jump squats x10

(Rest after and repeat for a total of four times)

Superset #4:

  • Dumbbell push presses x5
  • Single are clean and presses x8 each arm

(Rest after and repeat for a total of four times)

It was a great workout that kept my heart rate up! I finished my workout with 2.1 miles on the treadmill.


During October, my gym has a pink treadmill and for every mile you walk or run, they will donate 10 cents to breast cancer awareness research.


On Tuesday, Jacob and I went on our weekly Starbucks trip and I was excited to try out the new toasted graham latte.


My local Starbucks had actually just gotten it’s first shipment of it on that day so I went on the right day!


I really liked it and loved that it had a lighter flavor and wasn’t too overpowering. It’s definitely worth getting again. I get mine short, non-fat, and no whip. :)

My family is coming over for dinner and a bonfire tomorrow so today, I’ll just be running errands and getting things ready and then I work tomorrow.

Have a great day!

  • What’s your favorite thing about October?
  • How’s your weather? Chilly yet?!
  • Favorite Starbucks drink? Or favorite seasonal drink?




1 Comment

Filed under Breakfast, Fitness, Halloween, Recipes

Nutrexin Alum-Free Deodorant Review

As a Moms Meet ambassador, I was recently given the chance to try out Nutrexin Alum-Free Roll-On Deodorant as well as two other Nutrexin products.


I work out in the gym almost every day of the week so I definitely jumped on the opportunity to try out a deodorant. :)


Alum-free deodorant allows the body to naturally stimulate itself to effectively de-acidify and cleanse acids and toxins from our cells.

I really liked that this deodorant offered 24-hour protection and goes on clear so it doesn’t leave any white residue. It’s safe for all skin types and dries quickly. Trust me, I’ve tried it out many times at the gym already. :)

Nutrexin deodorant doesn’t contain any aluminium, fragrances, preservatives, or artificial colors.

In addition to the deodorant, I also received alkaline bath salts which I love.


These bath salts are great for muscle recovery and promote active metabolism and leave your skin smooth and silky.

They are super easy to use. All you do it add 3 teaspoons to you bath 1-2 times a week or add 1 teaspoon to a foot bath daily. Then all you have to do is sit back and relax!


Finally, I also got the Vital Restore Natural Antioxidant vitamins. These vitamins supports cardiovascular health, metabolism, and healthy inflammation response. They provide a natural boost of energy without stimulants.


You can learn more about Nutrexin on their websiteTwitter page, and Facebook page.

Have a great day!

  • Do you use the same deodorant all the time? Favorite? 
  • Do you use bath salts?

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. 


Filed under Uncategorized

Waffles and Workouts

Good morning! How was your weekend?


Our weekend started with flu shots first thing on Saturday morning.


I’m not sure exactly what Jacob was doing in this picture but I think he was trying to help Jaden not be scared of the shot. Luckily, both my kids are okay with getting shots so everything went smoothly.

Danny didn’t join us for flu shots because he was out running 20 miles. That was his last really long run before the Chicago Marathon and now he’s tapering. I can’t believe that the Chicago Marathon is almost here!

Also, on Saturday, I got my beloved Leaves candle from Bath and Body Works.


This is my all time favorite candle. It smells like fall.

Danny and I had a lunch date at a cute sandwich and coffee shop on Saturday afternoon. I don’t know what possessed me to order chicken and waffles but I did.


I ended up taking everything off the waffles and giving it to Danny and then just ate the waffles. I don’t know if chicken and waffles are any good but those Belgium waffles sure were good. :)

Saturday evening, we went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner before heading home for some much needed sleep.


Danny and I actually got to work out together on Sunday morning!


He’s been running so much that we really haven’t had a chance to work out together. We worked on back and biceps with a little bit of cardio at the end. We did lat pulldowns, seated row, barbell curls, deadlifts, bentover rows and bicep rows, and dumbbell curls.

In the afternoon, we headed out to a salad place about 45 minutes away that I’m writing a blog post about but when we got there, they were closed. I was so mad even though it was my own fault for not checking their hours. I just assumed they’d be open on Sundays – I mean most restaurants are open on Sundays!! So that was a bummer.

We ended up eating at Chipotle instead – not that I’m complaining because I love Chipotle but now I have to make another trip to the salad restaurant – good thing it’s worth it!


The rest of Sunday was spent being lazy and watching the Bears game.

I was up early this morning for work and now I’m headed to the gym. Have a great day!!

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Favorite candle scent?
  • Have you ever had chicken and waffles?


Filed under Family Fun, Lunch, Running, Working Out

First Day of Fall – All Things Pumpkin + A Giveaway!!

In celebration of the first day of the best season of the year, I’m doing an everything pumpkin post! Happy first day of fall!!!

It’s really no secret that I’m a huge lover of pumpkin and I love eating everything pumpkin from September until the beginning of the holiday season. Today, I’m going to share some pumpkin products I love and some pumpkin products I’ve seen while out and about.

There’s even a great giveaway from Puffins. :)

Doesn’t it seem like there’s more and more pumpkin products every fall?! They’re taking over!! I love it.

  • Pumpkin Puffins


I saw these on the Puffin Facebook page and I was so excited. I love peanut butter Puffins and I was very excited to try out the pumpkin Puffins.

Barbara’s, the company that makes Puffins, offered to send me some coupons to pick up a box of pumpkin Puffins and Danny found them at Target.

They are delicious. They are awesome on top of pumpkin Greek yogurt or with milk. There’s really no wrong way to eat cereal.

Enter my giveaway at the end of this post to win coupons for a free box of Puffins cereal!

  • Pumpkin Spice Yogurt

I loved topping pumpkin yogurt with the pumpkin Puffins – they gave the yogurt that nice bit of crunch.

I have found a few different pumpkin yogurts and they are all good.

Siggi’s Pumpkin & Spice:


Dannon Pumpkin Pie:


I’ve had the regular Chobani pumpkin yogurt and the Chobani Flips Pumpkin Harvest Crisp yogurt which was amazing.

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It has pie crust pieces, pecans, and glazed pumpkin seeds! So good!!!

  • Pumpkin Spice Coffee

I wait all year to enjoy pumpkin spice coffee for a short time. I love the Green Mountain pumpkin spice coffee.


New this year, McCafe has pumpkin spice k-cups.


Equally as delicious.

And of course, we cannot forget Starbucks pumpkins spice lattes. Or PSL – as they are normally abbreviated.


I actually haven’t had a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks in a couple of years because surprisingly, they weren’t my favorite. But Starbucks changed their recipe this year to include real pumpkin so I figured I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did because it was delicious.

The PSL is definitely a special treat and not a daily coffee drink.

  • Pumpkin Spice Quaker Oats


These are delicious! Danny found this oatmeal for me too and I love him for supporting my pumpkin habit. I love that it has a perfect pumpkin spice flavor without being overpowering. Perfect for breakfast or pre-workout.

  • Kodiak Cakes Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Minute Muffins


What is this?! It’s a chocolate pumpkin muffin in a cup! Genius! All you do is add water and cook! This is another item that I could consider a treat because it has a very large amount of carbs – 50 grams. But the delicious combination of chocolate and pumpkin makes it worth it. :)

  • Libby’s Pure Pumpkin


We can’t forget pumpkin on our pumpkin foods list! Canned pumpkin is great for many things – muffins, pancakes, and my favorite – pumpkin chocolate chip waffles!


I used Kodiak cakes waffle mix, pumpkin, and chocolate chips to make this tasty waffle.

  • Fiber One Pumpkin Bars


Of course, it’s best to get your fiber from fruits, veggies, and whole grains but a little Fiber One bar never hurt. These little bars are full of pumpkin goodness.

Next up, I had a pumpkin product that wasn’t my favorite but I’m including it because maybe you’ll love them.

  • Pumpkin Spice Latte M&M’s


These were not that great in my opinion. I brought them to a family gathering and everyone thought they were just so-so. I ate some but I’d never buy them again. Sorry, M&M’s – not all pumpkin products can be winners.

I also have one pumpkin product that I didn’t buy even though they look delicious.

  • Hostess Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes


I saw these at Target but didn’t buy them. When I went back this weekend, they were all gone off the shelf. Must have been good.

And those are my pumpkin products for this first day of fall! There seems to be some many pumpkin products this year but these are the ones that I have really been enjoying!

Don’t forget to enter below to win a coupon for a free box of Puffins!! US residents only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Barbara’s sent me coupons to get a box of pumpkin Puffins at no cost to me. They also sent me extra free coupons to use for the giveaway. All opinions are my own. 


Filed under Breakfast, Giveaway, Product Review

I Went to Bodypump!

Good afternoon!

Over the weekend, Danny and I attended a wedding on the 66th floor of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower!) in Chicago.

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The view was absolutely beautiful.


We had such an amazing time. It was Danny’s cousin who got married and unfortunately the few pictures that I got of the bride and groom came out blurry but the bride’s dress was gorgeous.

Danny and his brothers:


We had such a fun night and stayed out late dancing, eating, drinking, and having fun.


The following morning before we picked the kids up from my mom’s house, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts. Sometimes you just need a donut in your life and that’s okay.


Dunkin’ Donuts just came out with the new Reese’s peanut butter square donuts and I was determined to try one. They also have the pumpkin cheesecake donut squares so of course I had to try one of those too.

Even though I was most excited to try the Reese’s donut, the pumpkin cheesecake donut was so much better. I didn’t really like the taste of the peanut butter inside the donut so it wasn’t my favorite. But the pumpkin cheesecake filling was delicious!

Now that I’ve tried those two donuts, I can move on with my life.

Yesterday, I went to Bodypump!!


I haven’t been to Bodypump in over a year since my hip surgery in July of 2014. I was nervous to go but one of my friends was taking the class, so I decided to go with her.

My hip was fine. It tends to get sore but it’s really my knees that have been bothering me. I took it really easy on  the squats and lunges and didn’t go down very low which took some off the pressure of my knees.

I realized how much I missed bodypump!! It was a great class and I enjoyed it but I don’t know if my body could handle it on regular basis but it was a nice change yesterday.

Have a great afternoon and don’t forget to enter my Van’s Cereal Giveaway!

  • When was the last time you went to a wedding?
  • Do you like donuts? Favorite?


Filed under Breakfast, Family Fun, Working Out

Van’s Cereal + A Giveaway!

Van’s Foods sent me their two new cereals to try at no charge to me and are sponsoring this giveaway. I only blog and share products from companies I like, enjoy, and stand behind. All opinions are my own…and Jaden’s. :)

Good morning! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

As many of you know, I am a huge cereal lover. Sometimes I love it a little too much. :) I am also a huge lover of Van’s Foods products (they have the best waffles!) so I was very excited when Van’s offered to let me and the kids try out their new cereals – Cocoa Sensation and Blissfully Berry.


Each serving of cereal contains 17 grams of whole grain and 5 grams of fiber. They are great with milk or on top of yogurt (my personal favorite) or you can enjoy them like Jaden did – straight out of the box without milk!

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As a mom, I love that they don’t have any artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, egg, dairy, or corn. They are perfect for kids like Jaden who have food allergies. And the kids just love that they taste awesome!

They are also gluten-free which is great if you or your children are gluten-free.

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Silvana Nardone of Silvana’s Kitchen has come up with two great recipes using the Van’s new cereals.

Crunch Chocolate-Banana Sweet-n-Salty Snack Mix

Makes: 8 cups


3 cups Van’s Gluten-Free Cocoa Sensation Cereal

1½ cups plantain chips or banana chips

1 cup unsweetened coconut chips or coconut flakes

1 cup roasted salted almonds

½ cup raw pistachios

½ cup dried berries, such as cranberries, cherries or blueberries

½ cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients.

PB & Berry Blast Snack Mix

Makes: 8 cups


3 cups Van’s Gluten-Free Blissfully Berry Cereal

1½ cups gluten-free pretzel sticks

1½ cup roasted salted peanuts

1 cup freeze-dried strawberries

1 cup dried blueberries

In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients.



To celebrate the launch of their new cereals and back to school, Van’s is giving one reader the chance to win a Back-to-School giveaway featuring coupons for free Van’s cereals, a Van’s tote, and water bottle.

Enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Filed under Breakfast, Giveaway, Recipes

Friday Favorites

Good morning! I feel like I have hardly been around all week. I’ve been working, working out, and trying to get ready for the wedding Danny and I are attending tomorrow night.

It has been such a busy week and I have been exhausted – I’ve been in bed by 8:30 pm almost every night this week. I have to get up between 4:50 and 5:00 am a few days a week to train clients at the gym and then I go back to work the front desk a couple days a week once Jaden gets to school. And I am not one of those people that can function on only a few hours sleep – I need sleep to be a functioning adult!

I have just a few Friday favorites to share with you today.

  • Special K Apple Cinnamon Crunch Cereal

Besides pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon is one of my favorite fall flavors. I love it. When I saw this apple cinnamon Special K cereal at Target, I had to try it.


I love using cereal like this to sprinkle on top of my yogurt especially the caramel apple pie Greek yogurt.


Cereal is one of those foods that I could eat and eat and eat because I love it so it works better for me to just add a bit to my cereal.

  • Rowing Machine

I’ve been trying to find different ways to do cardio at the gym and  I have been loving the rowing machine.


It’s a tiring workout! I only rowed 1000 meters the other day and I was exhausted. I also like to do intervals on the rowing machine. A week or so ago, I rowed 400 meters then immediately did 20 kettlebell swings. I rested one minute and repeated for a total of five intervals. My legs were so tired the next day!

  • Halloween Time!!

Halloween will be here before we know it! My dad loves Halloween and has a big Halloween party every year. We always keep our costumes a surprise and try to come up with something clever and creative. It’s always better to start planning your costume sooner rather than later. I have no ideas yet this year and I really need to figure it out.

My all time favorite Halloween costume that I ever wore was my peacock costume a few years ago.


It took me forever to make the peacock tail and find all the accessories but I love how it turned out!

Have a great Friday and a great weekend.

  • What are your favorites today?
  • Do you dress up for Halloween?

Leave a Comment

Filed under Friday favorites, Uncategorized

Sunset Shuffle 5k and Apple Picking!

Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

On Saturday morning, I ran a local 5k. It was pretty small – probably around 150 people, maybe less. I was really happy because the weather has been so hot lately but on Saturday it was a cool 50 degrees at 8am.


The race started out with a free kid’s run and Jaden had fun running it. Luckily, it was short because Jaden started out running at top speed!


At 8am, the 5k started and I was off. I enjoyed the race course and I felt okay running. I didn’t feel terrible but I didn’t feel awesome either. I used KT tape on my knee and the bottom of my foot since my heel has been bothering me.

I haven’t really run since my last 5k in July so I was sure how’d I’d do. I finished in 32:22. Not terrible but not awesome either. Average.


I ran average. And I’m okay with that. I think sometimes we forget that it’s okay to be average. It’s hard to be the best at every single thing you do. I will always be an average runner and not for lack of trying.

My calves will always be tight since I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome. My hip will always get tired because I had hip surgery. And my knee hurts.

I will never be the fastest runner or the best runner. I will always be average and I am okay with that.

We didn’t hang around too long after the race because Danny had a 12 mile run to get done.

And unfortunately, my toenail happened to be cutting my other toe the entire time I was running so I had to get home to fix it and put on a band-aid. My sock was not a pretty sight when I took my shoe off.

On Saturday afternoon, WE WENT APPLE PICKING!


I was so excited to go apple picking! I have been wanting to go apple picking for years and years but we’ve just never gone. Until Saturday.


The kids were really excited too!



Apple picking is a little pricey. In order to go out into the apple fields, you have to purchase a 1/4 peck bag for $10. So, for four of us it cost $40. I know you’re also paying for the experience which is why I felt okay spending $40 on apples just this once.

The only thing that I wish is that there had been a bigger selection of apples to choose from. Someone mentioned going in October instead of September so maybe we just went too soon in the season. When we went, we were able to pick from three different apple varieties – Honeygold, Jonathon, and Gala.


The Honeygold apples were completely gone so that wasn’t even an option. The Gala apples were very limited and practically gone. After tasting a Gala apple, I realized it was too soft for my tastes so we mostly stuck with picking Jonathon apples which were delicious.

The kids (and adults!) had such a fun time picking apples and filling up our bags.

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Danny is so tall he could reach the apples at the top of the tree with no problem!

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After apple picking, we headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for dinner and my sister-in-law came up with the great idea of using some of our apples for an apple crisp.


She found a recipe on the All Recipes website that came out amazing!

It was definitely a busy and fun filled Saturday!

On Sunday, I went to the gym in the morning and did a leg and triceps workout. Post workout, I had a Premier Protein vanilla shake.


The rest of my day was spent working the fitness desk at the gym while Danny and the kids watched the Bears game.

Today, I am off to the mall to look for a dress for a wedding we’re going to this weekend!

Have a wonderful day!

  • Have you ever been apple picking? Favorite apple? Mine is a Honeycrisp – hands down!!
  • What did you do this weekend?


Filed under Family Fun, Fitness, Fun, Running