Hi there and Happy Friday to you! How are y’all doing?
It’s been a week of reflection over here. After I published last week’s Friday Favorites post, Skyler and I took a long walk through the park, then headed out to meet Scott in the City after his nap. He was finishing up a day of volunteering with our church’s Food Pantry ministry, and, it turned into quite a day. I shared more about that story our hero here.
Life sure is currently handing us all of the curveballs right and left. But I learned more than a few things that day, with the biggest being each day is a gift and to never take them for granted.
There have been a lot of ups and downs throughout the week, as we have received both good and bad news with the health of loved ones. We are praying for so many right now, and my heart feels like a melted puddle of emotions at times.
That said, there have been several great things about this week, too. It’s always a good thing to reflect on those things, so today I wanted to share what made me smile along with a recap of some winning recipes, workouts, self care talk, and more.
Thanks for checking in!
Friday Favorites: Week of 10/16
- neighborhood Halloween decorations
I wasn’t sure if we were going to see a good amount of decorations up in our neighborhood this year, but they have made their debut and then some over the past few weeks. I always love how creative people get with their stoops and small areas to display fun things like ghosts, skeletons, pumpkins, and spider webs.
Skyler has really gotten into a phase of loving all the Halloween things, and even a quick walk around the block is very exciting for him. He doesn’t let a pumpkin go by without pointing it out to us, and the volume of his shrieks is considerably loud!
The spookier decorations take him a minute to process, but we’ve learned that things aren’t as “scary” as they are “funny” … or so that’s what has worked in saying so far.
Nevertheless, many kudos to those who have decorated in Park Slope. It makes neighborhood walks even more fun, and gets me even more excited for Christmas lights and decorations, too.
- a cinnamon roll worth waiting in line for
I didn’t understand why this bakery/cafe always had a line out the door, and now I totally get it. They are known for quite a few specialties including homemade bread and pastries, with the most notable being their cinnamon roll.
Oh my goodness, it was so drool-worthy. This is actually a picture of Scott’s pick, and I ordered a standard breakfast sandwich with egg and cheese on an English muffin. (And for what its worth, that was really, really good, too.)
Anyways, I don’t know if it’s partly seasonal or what, but the cinnamon roll tasted like it had a touch of pumpkin flavoring. I wasn’t mad about it at all. In fact, it might just be one of the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.
I’ve waited in line for 25 minutes to order before, and I would definitely do it again. Locals, if you haven’t checked out Winner in Park Slope, you’re missing out.
- new safer self-care beauty sets
You may or may not be in the holiday shopping mood yet, but there are some fabulous clean beauty gift sets that just launched that need to be recognized. And since I know that we could all use some additional self-care for ourselves right now, I’m going to start with highlighting two very popular sets in the self-care category.
The Ultra Renewal Bath Set is a fantastic trio of products that will help your skin look healthier and smoother. It includes everything needed to unwind before, during, and after a bath or shower, and is getting rave reviews from clients and consultants!
If you’d rather trade the oil for a lotion, however, (although I really enjoy this body oil and have been using this baby soothing oil on Skyler for years), check out the Good Glow Body Duo for $30 less.
The body scrub is a new formula made from organic finely milled sugar and a blend of nourishing botanical oils. The lotion goes on transparent for a natural-looking sheen, and the combination of the two really pampers and transforms your skin.
If you’re still eyeing the ultra renewal set, here’s a little dry brush why and how that might help you decide what’s best for you.
Other sets on my self-care list include the Countertime Radiant Skin Set, the Bright Side Duo (two of my all-time fave products) and the body butters. But you really can’t go wrong with any of the Fresh Fall Beauty sets!
And if you like reading about all the latest, make sure to join my Life In Leggings – Beautycounter page for daily information, deals, tutorials, giveaways and more!
- recent recipe wins
I’ve been inspired to cook more lately, and it might have something to do with the chill in the air. (Does this happen to anyone else?) I start to crave hearty soups and actually feel like baking, which doesn’t happen much throughout the year. So, here are some recent recipe tries that you need to know about. Yum!
First, in case you missed it, I shared a new Easy, Hearty Tortellini Soup recipe post this week. I have a feeling soup recipes are going to be on repeat around here. They’re so comforting, especially around this time of year!
Other recipe tries and wins include …
TUSCAN GARLIC CHICKEN
This one is from I got it from a cookbook, Cooking For a Cure, that directly supports The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you’d like to support the cause, you can purchase your own copy for a $25 donation here.
This was an extremely easy dinner that will be served on a rotation around here. It was delicious and makes plenty to go around for a large family and/or leftovers!
2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (3-4 pieces)
2 garlic clovesa pinch of salt and pepper
2 oz fresh baby spinach
14 oz can artichoke hearts drained and chopped
8.5 oz jar sun dried tomatoes drained with 1 Tbsp oil reserved, and chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated (I wasn’t able to find sun dried tomatoes, so I substituted 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, then sprinkled regular EVOO on top when it called for it.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay the chicken flat in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper.
Press garlic and spread it evenly over the chicken breast. Place the spinach, artichoke hearts, and sun dried tomatoes on top of the chicken. Drizzle the Tbsp of oil reserved from the dun dried tomatoes. Finish by topping with mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 45-50 minutes total. Cooke 20 minutes uncovered. Cover loosely with foil for 25-30 mins. or until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees internal temperature).
Serve with your choice of sides and enjoy!
And, of course, this Easy Sugar Cookie recipe for our Halloween inspired cookies. The recipe includes an option for homemade icing, but I had a tub of chocolate frosting that Skyler wanted to use, so that’s what we did.
We might just make another batch over the weekend!
- latest workout faves
Okay, I’m back to documenting my workouts on a daily basis, so here’s a peek into how I kept active last week.
Friday: took two longer walks through the park and then in the Manhattan with Skyler to meet Scott. No official workout this day, but a solid 10 miles of walking counts for something!
Sunday: 4 mile run around the park, the best mental reset
Monday: INTENSE Fat Burning Tabata Workout // No Equipment via Heather Robertson. This one is intense, as the title describes. There is jumping, and it got my heart racing really quickly. That said, I actually enjoyed it, but won’t turn to high-impact workouts like this too frequently.
Tuesday: Full Body STRENGTH At-Home Workout via Heather Robertson. This workout is proof that you don’t have to burn a TON of calories to have a really good, effective workout. It left me very sweaty, and I really loved the compound strength movements. You’ll need at least one set of dumbbells.
Wednesday: 30-Minute Pilates-Fusion Cardio & Full Body Toning Workout via POPSUGAR Fitness. This is a new go-to for me, as I’ve now complete the workout twice and will do so again. It’s a fusion between Cardio, HIIT, and Pilates strength moves, and it left me a lot sweatier than I thought it would! The best part is that it’s all low-impact.
Thursday: *NEW* Total Body Strength for the Gym Workout
It was my first time back in the free weights and barbell/bench room. It felt so good to get back lifting heavier again! I completed three different circuits with three exercises each. As always, please modify and rest when needed, stretch, drink lots of water, and reach out with any questions.
I woke up feeling sore today, which is to be expected after lifting heavier weights than I have been for a while. That said, I was also pleasantly surprised on what I could lift. I didn’t dive in to my maximum weights, but I challenged myself and added resistance with each set.
I guess it goes to show that months of at-home workouts with dumbbells and resistance bands can do more than you think!
My week of workouts had a great mix of strength workouts, which was a nice change. I only got out for one run, but I did take several longer walks and a quick ride on the stationary bike, too. I am taking a rest day today, and the only thing missing is recovery workout like yoga. That sounds perfect for later during this rainy afternon!
- favorite LIL posts
What is one thing that you wish you knew about breastfeeding before you experienced it? This post covers it all from my personal experience along with my own research and advice that I have received from my doctors, family, and other moms.
Here’s a round-up of some of the most requested things I get asked about in my Instagram stories that I found online. (I think we can all agree in saying that online shopping is on the rise, especially during quarantine.) So, these are all products that I’ve tried and loved after discovering them at bargain prices via Amazon. Happy shopping!
All right. I think that pretty much covers it for today. I hope you all have a great weekend!
Skyler and I will be solo for a week as Scott sets out for another volunteer trip for hurricane relief. We’ll take prayers all around. <3
Stay safe out there, and thanks again for reading!
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