TJ’s Tuesday Fall Favorites

Alright, so I still have not done a pumpkin post, not because I haven’t been to Trader Joe’s lately, but because there honestly isn’t as much pumpkin stuff as I remembered in the past. Sure there are a few sauces and baking mixes, but I remember years before having a million pumpkin things I was excited to try. One of these weeks I’ll muster up the energy to find five pumpkin things I’d like to try, but until then we’re going to do a few of my favorite fall items.

1. Envy Apples
Envy apples are freaking amazing. Like, they’re the best apples you’ll ever eat. They’re super crispy and taste like a more tart version of their cousin, the Gala apple. Trader Joe’s is kind of cool too because they charge you by the fruit, not by the pound, so you can just pick out the best apple of the bunch and feel like you’re getting a great deal.

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2. Cinnamon Bun Spread
Have you ever smelled a candle and wished you could eat it? If candle eating resonates with you, this jar of cinnamon might just be your thing. The texture is almost like melted wax and if I could waft the scent around my home, it would smell like fall potpourri. I’ve read quite a bit about this cinnamon bun spread before, but never tried it until a couple of days ago. When I was at TJ’s contemplating this purchase, I saw that the first ingredient is honey, which I’m all for. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but I’m kind of glad I got it and I have a feeling I’ll crave this spread anytime I light a fall candle in my home. It should last me the entire season. Who knows, maybe I’ll come up with a better way of eating it than on the back of a shortbread cookie!

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3. Organic Strawberries 
Fall isn’t necessarily known to be strawberry picking season, which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I smelled how fresh the strawberries were from over a foot away. These ended up being so good that I ate the entire box in two sittings — and already went back for another bundle I’ve almost finished.

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4. Mini Peanut Butter Cups
Halloween is coming up, which means it’s time to break out the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Except these are even better. I sometimes get a stomachache from eating too many, so be careful how many you let yourself have because they’re addicting!

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5. Pumpkin Dog Treats
I think it was a real missed opportunity not calling these Pupkin Treats, but it is what it is. Jax and Macy both love these dog treats that are made with real pumpkin. As I was writing this I thought about how I was going to tell you that they smell just like a human pumpkin snack, and it dawned on me that I might be able to take a bite and tell you whether or not it tasted like one, too. I went to check the ingredients and here’s what I found:

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Okay, I know what wheat is and despite being gluten-free, a little won’t kill me. Pumpkin is fine, so is cane molasses. So far so good! Typical Trader Joe’s, making dog treats something good enough for humans to eat. Bravo. Canola oil is another check next to “human ingredient,” and so is ground cinnamon. I don’t know what citric acid is, but I’ve also seen it on my own nutrition labels before. What in the world is “Mixed Tocopherols?!” My laptop is recognizing it as a word, but I certainly don’t. First possibly scary ingredient, but I’m assuming it’s a pretty typical preservative (which, in anyone’s defense, can be scary in human foods too). Lastly, Rosemary extract. Something I am familiar with. Well, I guess I gotta go for it then! For the sake of the blog.

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I took a bite on my Instagram story earlier and it was totally gross. Despite smelling like a biscotti I would be happy to dip in my coffee, it tasted like crunchy, wheat flavored cardboard. I have no idea why Jax and Macy love these so much, but I see why in my 28 years on earth I’ve never had the desire to try a dog treat. I could have gone my whole life without making this weird decision.

Anyway, I know I posted a little late today, but I hope you find something new to try next time you’re at Trader Joe’s. Please don’t let my poor review of dog treats and candle flavored cinnamon goo deter you from trying something new or getting a treat for your pup while you’re out. I promise they’ll like it!


Read more about other Trader Joe’s favorites here

TJ’s Tuesday feat Cotton Candy Grapes

Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places on earth. I’ve been going since I was a kid, and I think just about every single one of my friends in college was forced to try one thing or another from this divine grocery store.

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I text friends on a pretty regular basis what all of my new Joe’s finds are, so I figured I might as well make a weekly blog post about it. This week we’re in for a real treat too, because they happened to have my favorite fruit in the entire world. You guessed it:

1. Cotton Candy Grapes
I tell everyone about CC grapes. They literally taste exactly like what you would get at the circus or the fair, but aren’t unhealthy! The coolest thing is that they are still organic, despite being some sort of weird hybrid grape. I eat them by the pound, and hope they’ll still be around in a week or two so I can get another giant box.

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Protip: Freeze them for an extra special summer treat!

2. Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds
That name is a mouthful, and you’ll definitely want to take one of these dark chocolate almonds once you try them. I got hooked on these when I was in college, and they were a great breakthrough to how amazing dark chocolate can be. Even my husband — who hates dark chocolate — eats these by the fistful. They have a perfect sweet and salty mix, and are wildly addicting.

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3. Movie Theater Butter Popcorn
Speaking of college, you could always find me studying with a snack, particularly the perfectly buttered bagged popcorn from Trader Joe’s. It’s almost as good as the real thing, and is way too easy to eat an entire bag in a sitting. I still always keep a bag or two in our pantry because my chocolate lab, Jax, and I enjoy splitting it while watching Big Brother or a goofy Hallmark movie.

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4. Sparkling Watermelon Juice
PLEASE make this a staple, TJ’s!! It breaks my heart that this is a seasonal item because I would like to have these year-round. There came a point where I stocked up on 6 boxes of juice, but sadly I am down to one can now. Hoping they’ll bring it back soon, but if not I’ll be stocking up a lot better next season so they’ll last me at least a few months.

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5. Vitamin E Oil
This is a very recent discovery, but I’m already obsessed with it. You can get this serum for about $5, and it’s amazing to create hydrated and smooth legs after shaving. It felt really great and I would never use it on my face, but it’s really nice for a little extra body shimmer. Just be careful about how much you put on, because it becomes a little greasy quickly.

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Well, that’s all for now, friends. Next week I’ll be posting five new pumpkin things to try at Trader Joe’s, in honor of them bringing out their fall collection. Last year I bought a bunch of pumpkin pancake mix at the end of the season so we could enjoy them year-round. You never know when seasonal items at TJ’s might sell out, so it’s always good to stock up when you can.

It’s A Nightmare On M Street

I’ve never been to Nightmare on M Streetbut every year I tell myself that next Halloween I’ll give it a go. At 26, though, I’ve decided I’m done with bar crawls.

Since I got POTS I haven’t been a huge fan of going out into big crowds as I often feel dizzy and worry about fainting in a crowded area, but even if I didn’t have a chronic illness I don’t think it would be my jam anymore. It’s hilarious talking to friends who feel the same way. I definitely still have a mix of people who enjoy big parties and loud music, but for the most part everyone is starting to settle down and enjoy a more low-key weekend with family or a friend or two.

Yesterday I handed out a few handfuls of candy with my mom, then went over to give out candy with Robert. Guys. I don’t think Halloween has ever been this much fun before. Giving out candy and seeing all the trick-or-treaters made my heart so happy! I definitely started off a bit too jazzed, though, as I told the kids, “Take as much as you want,” and then quickly realized there were going to be too many people stopping by to make that a sustainable practice. It was just so great seeing their eyes light up as they chose their favorite chocolate bars from the mix!

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I also loved how polite most of the kids were. I remember when I used to go door to door every Halloween how I would only take a piece of candy unless offered otherwise. Most kids this year were really sweet and thankful, but it cracked me up when one of the girls dug her hand deep into the bottom of the bowl and scooped out as many pieces of candy as her hand could hold. She was the reason I had to start rationing the candy better, and when she came back for a second treat a half hour later, I had to tell Robert that he’d need to turn her down if she had the guts to come back for a third scoop (thankfully she didn’t) because we still had a good hour left for other kids to come to the house.

Sitting by the door with a bowl of candy in my lap was one of the most fun evenings I’ve had in awhile. I loved seeing all the creative costumes, complimented the ones that weren’t the coolest to other kids, but that I thought were neat — like a Groot and a “sweatpants mannequin,” which was made from a black bodysuit that covered even his eyes — and I smiled about all the little middle schoolers who probably wouldn’t get to go out again next year. I love seeing any age of children trick-or-treating; even the older kids who don’t really dress up are great because I think it’s sweet that they are still doing something as innocent as getting free candy with their time instead of getting into trouble.

By the end of the night the kids had cleaned out almost 3 big bags of candy, but Robert and I noticed that that we were left with primarily Almond Joy candy bars and Whoppers. We’ve been having a big debate on my Facebook page about which is better, and somehow far more people seem to like Almond Joys than Whoppers. What the heck?! I always liked getting Whoppers in my pillowcase, but I never met a kid who liked an Almond Joy. I suppose next year we’ll need to try to find big bags of Reeses mixed only with Hershey’s bars, Twix, and M&Ms, rather than trying to pawn off the two untouchable candy bars. You live and learn, right?

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This was the “before and after” of our candy bowl. Note all the Whoppers and Almond Joys that were left! >_<

I’m already really excited for Halloween next year, as I want to give out more candy and keep seeing cute costumes throughout the evening. I think we will need to go all out in the decorating to try to really attract a crowd next year. What’s your favorite part about Halloween? And are you as excited about Christmas as I am now? Sadly I hate most Christmas music, but I can’t wait to start seeing all the decorations and enjoying all the Hallmark Christmas specials and movies on ABC Family (now known as Freeform) as I want!

Friday Favorites: Summer Edition

It’s been awhile since I’ve written little product reviews, so I figured it was about time I did a post about some of my favorite things for summertime. Since I have POTS and really need to focus on health and hydration, this is going to be all about healthy living this summer. Let me know in the comments if you have a great recommendation of things for me to try while it’s still hot out!


1. nuun Tablets

nuun tablets are my favorite thing to keep me hydrated when it’s hot out — and really throughout the year. I have a terribly off electrolyte and sodium balance in my body, so these little tablets are perfect to put in my Smart Water to keep me feeling good. My favorite flavor is watermelon, but I also like the lemon lime or strawberry lemonade nuuns!

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2. Mission Towel

My mission towel has kept me from fainting a good handful of times. My body overheats really easily, which causes my heart to race and blood pressure to drop way too dramatically. This is a huge nuisance, so anytime I go someplace outdoors I take my towel in my purse and just add water to activate the cooling cloth. I put it on my neck to lower my body temperature, and it really does work wonders. I think even just normal people who hate the heat or athletes would really benefit from having one of these!

3. Cotton Candy Grapes

CC grapes are literally my favorite summer snack. I could eat an entire box of these in one sitting if they weren’t so filling! (Note: I’ve never known grapes to be a filling food, which just shows how much I must eat at snacktime.) Please, if you’ve never tried these, go to the store and get them before they’re out of season. They aren’t genetically modified; I don’t know how they get the grapes to taste like this, but it’s wild!

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4. Rodan + Fields Foaming Sunless Tan

The products that initially drew me to Rodan + Fields were the Unblemish regimen and the Lash Boost, but I quickly discovered that their sunless tanner is incredible. I’ve never been someone who likes to sit out in the sun, but I love the way my skin looks with a nice brown glow. I had trouble finding a self tanner that wouldn’t streak or make my skin look orange (I’m looking at you, Tan Towel!), but somehow the foam makes it a lot easier to get full coverage and make the bottle last well into the summer. It was funny the first time I tried it because it was right after my beach trip, and Robert told me my tan looked really nice. I proceeded to lecture him about how I don’t get a really dark real tan, since I am careful to keep my skin protected from UV rays.

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5.Greek Yogurt

But not just any Greek yogurt — Maple Hill Creamery Greek yogurt! The cows are 100% grass-fed, and appear to live a pretty good life in their family-owned farms in New York. I am all about treating animals well, plus this yogurt is easily the best I’ve ever had. I got on the Greek yogurt bandwagon pretty early on, back when I was in high school and it was just becoming a popular thing. I’ve tried a lot of different types, and this is by far my favorite.

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BONUS: Root Beer Floats

This was the float that started it all. I went to a Bachelorette party last month and one of the bars we ended up at had root beer floats. While everyone else got a nice glass of wine, I decided to go ahead and treat myself to an ice cold float. I’m not much of a soda drinker (And I know I promised this post would be healthy — which is why this is a bonus item!), but this is easily my new favorite splurge.

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