I hope you’re doing well out there. We’re still here in Brooklyn — in quarantine — and we are closing out Week 11 of doing so. Times are strange, and I know that lot of you are feeling it.
I didn’t get to highlight our Memorial Day on the blog yet, so I figured I should open this round of Friday Favorites with a quick recap. It was a very normal day for us, and it included a long walk exploring the park and another visit to the Prospect Park Zoo (from the outside), per Skyler’s request.
We didn’t have a barbecue or celebrate the holiday by a body of water (which was my favorite thing to do when we lived in Florida), but we sported our red, white, and blue outfits proudly and made the most of it.
We walked, found a new mechanical horse to ride — which is the highlight of Skyler’s days right now, we strolled by to pick up Chick-fil-A that we ordered on a mobile app, and we wandered in the park to see sea lions, peacocks, and even ostriches from afar!
The Prospect Park Zoo isn’t open, but we are still able to peek inside by the gates along the running loop and outside of the entrances, and it’s an event that Skyler asks for every few days. I’m thankful for outings like these right now, and while it’s not easy to be quarantined in New York City, we’re soaking in the time that we have as much as we can.
Our day ended with an impromptu rooftop hang with a couple of friends who live nearby. They’ve been sheltering in place in their apartment like we have over the last few months, and we thoroughly loved catching up, chatting, and (safely-distanced) toasting to better times ahead on our rooftop with the sunset.
It’s wild to think that this “outing” upstairs was our first hang of the sort in almost three months. We kept our distances to six feet apart, and even so, those few hours together reminded me that somewhat of a normal life will eventually return here. And it was just what I needed.
Memorial Day led into a week filled with outdoor walks, runs, indoor activities, cooking, workouts, and a lot of family time. Below are some of my favorite things worth highlighting.
Thanks for reading!
CURRENT FAVES — QUARANTINE WEEK 11
- an afternoon exploring Green-wood Cemetery
Our walk yesterday turned into a full day of seeing new-to-us territory here in Brooklyn. We walked several blocks past Prospect Park to find Green-wood Cemetery, which is a 478-acre cemetery that is located between many neighborhoods including South Slope, Windsor Terrace, Sunset Park, and more.
It might seem strange that we sought out a walk through a cemetery, but there are plenty of reasons to pay this historic landmark a visit.
Outside of quarantine, there are tours and events that take place year-round. Once the tours are back on, we want to revisit to take a guided trolley ride to where George Washington and his troops fought in the Battle of Brooklyn, hear the tale of the Roosevelt family from their eyes, and more.
We were told that the cemetery is notorious for bird watching, and that you can spot parrots throughout the premises. While we didn’t see the parrots this time, we walked quite a bit to visit the grave of one of America’s greatest artists, baseball legends, politicians, entertainers, inventors, Civil War generals, other veterans, and more.
You can hike to the highest point of Brooklyn and see the statue that waves back to Lady Liberty, and Scott snapped a photo up there while Skyler and I ran around at street level.
It was very eyeopening, and I had no idea all of this history was right here waiting for us to discover. You really don’t feel like you’re walking through Brooklyn, and it’s the most peaceful environment we’ve been through in a while. I’m really looking forward to returning one day soon!
- healthier pantry switches
If I told you that four quick substitutes could make a huge difference in cutting down your sugar and fat intake, AND that your drinks, recipes and snacks will still taste amazing … would you believe me?
It’s true, and here are just a few suggestions to start.
Coconut oil: one of the most versatile things to have on hand! It’s a fabulous substitute for butter and oils — canola, olive, and vegetable included.
Non-dairy butter flavored coconut oil: I use this as a base for popping stovetop popcorn. It’s delish, and it smells heavenly.
Date sugar: unlike typical refined sugar from cane or beets, date sugar is actually finely chopped dry dates. There’s no processing whatsoever, so you get an unrefined natural sweetener. And it’s SWEET!
Monk fruit: significantly sweeter than sugar, and up to 200 times as sweet, this a fantastic alternative to sugar in beverages. Use it in coffee, recipes, and even as a substitute for vanilla extract (what I do with the vanilla flavor). I was able to try several varieties while visiting the plant last fall, and they are impressive with just the right amount of flavoring. A few drops really go a long way!
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What are some of your favorite go-to pantry swaps? Please share below!
- quick bodyweight circuit
I don’t usually combine strength exercises with my longer runs, but after discovering this amazing astroturf area to work out at (a rare commodity around our parts), I took a midway break from my run to soak in the views of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and complete a circuit.
The only “equipment” I used was a bench for triceps dips and reverse plank leg lifts. If you didn’t have access to one, you could just do them from the ground. You can find exercise breakdowns of the first three exercises here, along with reverse plank leg lifts.
Three rounds didn’t take me long, and I had a good stretch and several sips of water before running back home. Let me know if you give it a try!
- cooking with Skyler
Skyler has shown an interest in helping me put away clean dishes for a while, but I had never really thought of including him in cooking recipes or helping getting our meals together until recently.
I finally got over my fear of having him standing on a step stool next to me while I’m cooking, and he helped measure ingredients and mix things together. He’s been all about helping me for any meal possible ever since.
It’s the cutest thing and helps a lot when things can sometimes get chaotic before mealtime. Instead of trying to set him up to entertain himself or watch a movie, he’s with me and having a blast. We turn on music (he’s been all about this Disney Hits playlist), I explain the process of steps, and he likes eating the meals more after he sees how it all comes together, too. It’s an all over win!
- the new, clean foundation that I’m obsessed with
I briefly mentioned this last week, but after my long-awaited package of new products arrived, I am happy to report my personal testimony about the brand-new foundation from Beautycounter called Skin Twin!
I don’t know about you, but even putting a little bit of concealer, mascara, and blush goes a long way for me during quarantine. I don’t put makeup on every day, but I definitely feel more put together on the days that I do, and I’ve been absolutely loving this new product for several reasons.
Here’s what makes it so unique:
- It’s makeup meets skincare in one step (multi-tasking for the win, my friends), and includes active ingredients for anti-aging
- Contains hyaluronic acid to help plump skin and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time
- Available in 18 shades to cover anyone and everyone
- Designed for longer wearing coverage, but still feels lightweight
- Provides natural coverage, but you can get medium and full coverage by layering
- Works great when applying with the Retractable Foundation Brush (for lighter coverage), or applying with a sponge or your fingers (for more coverage)
Why you should give it a try:
Plain and simple … it’s makeup with skincare benefits and it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing makeup at all. (Really!)
I ordered the Light 230 and Medium 310, since I wear No. 2 in the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer and Linen in Tint Skin (which color matches Light 210, but might be a little to light for me in the summer). This foundation goes on easily, provides more coverage than Tint Skin (if layered), feels light, and looks amazing. I’m very excited about the active ingredients added to this formula, and see it as an extension of my skincare routine that doesn’t feel too heavy.
I’m also digging the bottle that is recyclable, versus the tube that isn’t always easy to control the amount of dispensed product. I will definitely be wearing Skin Twin moving forward, sometimes even layering with Dew Skin on the bottom for that SPF.
Shop the Skin Twin Featherweight Foundation here.
SO. If you’ve never ordered from Beautycounter, you only have a few more days to take advantage of a huge discount. Get 20% off your entire order until 5/31!
This discount includes regimens/collections, and the Flawless In Five ($180 value, normally $150, you can get it for $120!), all of which are already bundled for a great discount. Simply go to the website and click the section at the top that says “sign up” to enter your email for the promo code.
And finally, there are only a few more days to get the Free Brightening Facial Mist (with purchase of Band of Beauty Membership), or to take advantage of the $50 Digital Enrollment Kit if you’re interested in the business of clean. Message me for more info on this one!
- latest workouts
I’m starting to realize that it’s hard for me to plan a week of my workouts ahead of time during quarantine. Some days I crave longer walks (and hours) outside, so my shorter walks turn into all-afternoon outings. My goal for the rest of this time of shelter-in-place in New York City is to go with the flow and incorporate a mix of walking, running, and strength workouts. Ideally, I would include more barre, Pilates, and yoga workouts into the rotation, too.
Here’s how last week’s fitness plans unfolded …
Friday: 30-Minute Bodyweight Workout via POPSUGAR Fitness – loved this quick and effective strength session!
Sunday: 6.7 mile run to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and back. I took my time with this one, along with several photos of an amazing view and completed the quick bodyweight workout you see above at my stopping point.
Monday: 4.5 mile walk around the neighborhood and park to see animals from the outside gates at the zoo. (I highlighted this experience last week, and we made another round for Memorial Day.)
Tuesday: Superset Strength Workout (With Resistance Bands) with a few extra rounds of cardio at the end in the form of Tabatas.
Wednesday: 3.5 mile walk through the park and 2 mile run with hill work later in the afternoon.
Thursday: 7 mile walk through the neighborhood to explore. I didn’t expect to walk this long, and my feet were tired after 4 continuous hours of standing and walking, so I called it an official rest day from any other workouts and it was much needed!
- favorite LIL posts
I originally created this circuit for Healthy Lifestyle Bootcamp at the beginning of quarantine, and I wanted to share it with you after I revisited it a few weeks ago. I just love a workout that targets a specific area!
My go-to clean skincare products! Each one has a specific purpose to drive results, and they’re all free of harmful ingredients and come in packaging that is friendly to the environment. You’ll see the typical regimen staples, but if you’re looking to start small or try unique-to-Beautycounter products first, this is my list of favorites!
All right. It’s time for me to log off and get back to the day. I hope you all have a great one and I’ll see ya next week!
*Disclaimer: The healthy pantry switches portion of this post is sponsored by NOW Foods. Also, I am a Beautycounter consultant and love what I do with the company. By using the links provided in this post to order products, you are supporting my business. I always appreciate you!