A Day in Salem MA

It is my favorite time of year and I am truly thriving. Pumpkin flavored everything, leaves candles from Bath & Body Works, Hocus Pocus binges, and all the fall activities are everything that I wait for all year long. I am very lucky to live in New England during my favorite time of year. One of the perks is being so close to Salem MA. A quick hour and a half drive away, Salem is the perfect day trip to take in October.

Now I have to warn you. Once October comes the quiet cobblestone streets of Salem become a mad house – literally. There are monsters on the street ready to take your picture with, booths lining the streets of vendors selling everything from crystals to t shirts, and big crowds. I would definitely suggest getting there earlier in the day and eating before you get there because the wait times at every restaurant and pub are crazy.

Despite the crowds we had a great day, so here are some of the highlights.

Since my boyfriend Jeff had never been to Salem before we knew we were going to want to do it all, so it made sense to buy a Combination Ticket (save $8!) to the land of witches and pirates. This included access to the Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, and New England Pirate Museum. This worked out wonderfully because we did not have to wait in line to buy tickets to each experience. If you can only do one of the three I recommend the Witch History Museum. They start off with a live reenactment of a witch trial and then afterwards bring you into an exact replica of what the cells looked like that people had to endure while awaiting trial.

2

We both knew we wanted to do a walking ghost tour of Salem, and since we were only there for the day we were excited to find out that there was a Midday Ghost Tour. The stories were entertaining, but do not expect to be scared on this tour. Next time we go I definitely want to take the Haunted Footsteps Tour at night. The highlight of the tour for me was getting to see some of the places that Hocus Pocus was filmed. That white house was Allison’s house in the movie.

4

3

Our favorite experience of the day was Gallows Hill. It is a theater production where they tell the legends of Salem with special effects and a few jump scares. It was definitely entertaining, and you can tell they put a lot of effort into the attraction. They also have a haunted attraction called The Lost Museum which we did not do.

1

Two of the attractions that we did not get to do this time around were The Witch Museum and a tour of The Witch House. We will definitely have to add those to the list next year.

If you live in New England Salem is the perfect day trip to get into the Halloween spirit. They do a great job of balancing the line of being entertaining with teaching visitors about the awful things that happened there during the witch hysteria of 1692.

xx Casey

Trader Joe’s Must Have’s

Trader Joes Heading

I decided that I am going to do a little series based on my favorite place to grocery shop – Trader Joe’s. They are the king of coming out with incredible seasonal items (especially for Christmas!) so I thought that each season I would share with you some of my favorite new items that they come up with. But before I do that I think I need to share with you some of my favorite Trader Joe’s staples. You know, the items I drive out of my way for each week. So let’s get to it!

Everything But The Bagel Seasoning. I mean can you really start a Best of Trader Joe’s list without mentioning the king of all seasonings first? I put this stuff on everything from eggs to chicken to salads. It really adds the perfect kick of flavor. But that is not the only seasoning you should pick up at Trader Joe’s. The thing I love most about them is that all of their herbs and spices are very affordable, so I always stock up when I go.

Green Goddess Dressing. Do you want to take a salad from boring to fresh and flavorful in a matter of seconds? Put this dressing on your salad. Made up of Avocado, Green Onion, Cold Pressed Lemon Juice, Chives, Basil, and Garlic, this simple dressing is perfect on a summer pasta salad.

Cauliflower Mash. So I know that the cauliflower trend has been going on forever. Trader Joe’s has a great cauliflower rice stir fry kit in their frozen section that is perfect in a pinch. However, if you have not tried the mashed cauliflower you are missing out. It is creamy and buttery and honestly, I do not miss the potato at all.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken. Wow. If you are looking for a low maintenance dinner when you do not have to cook, but do not want to order take out either this is the thing for you. I honestly do not know how they do it. But this perfectly grilled chicken is fully cooked and in the pre made section. I buy this every week and cut it up to put on salads, make a grilled chicken wrap, or eat it as is with a side of cauliflower mash.

Cheddar Rockets. As far as snacks go, my boyfriend and I LOVE these. So much cheesier than a goldfish or cheez its, these are the perfect snack for an afternoon pick me. up.

Hold the Cone Mini Ice Cream Cones. I love these for a quick little treat after dinner without all the guilt. They are 7- calories each and the perfect treat when you want something sweet. They have a few different flavors but the Vanilla is my main go-to (until the Fall and Christmas flavors come out!)

I am sure there are a few that I am missing so maybe I will have to do a part two to this. Stay tuned because I will be sharing with you my favorite seasonal summer items soon!

 

xx Casey

Summer Intentions

RELAX (1)

Since the first day of summer is officially here, I wanted to take the time to set some intentions for the season. The turn of a new season is the perfect time to sit back and re-evaluate the important things in life and re-focus your energy.

Slow Down & Soak It Up. Summer comes and goes way too quickly each year. By the time mid June rolls around, there are two and a half short months left until the coolness of fall rolls in. And as much as I love the fall, I need to remember not to rush it. Enjoy the nights where you can eat dinner outside on the patio, spend days soaking up the sun, and  enjoy moving at a much slower pace than usual.

To Be More Aware of My Body. This is not where I am going to begin talking about “summer bodies” because quite frankly there is no such thing. This season there is so much fresh produce – so take advantage of it! Eat cooler lighter meals while the temps are rising, and feel good about what you are putting into your body. Eating seasonally is the healthiest way to live and will make you feel lighter and more energized throughout the summer and beyond.

Say No, Without Guilt. Just because it is summer does not mean you have to say yes to every happy hour, buck a shuck, brunch, beach day, etc. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking this time to slow down. The urge to go-go-go and soak up every moment of the summer is strong, but do yourself a favor and take some time for yourself.

xx Casey

Incorporating New Daily Habits

Incorporating New Healthy Habits

Good Morning! The first day of summer might be 20 days away, but once Memorial Day weekend comes and goes we all begin to transition into summer mode. That means it is time to dust off the winter slump and start to incorporate some feel good habits into the daily routine.

1 Dry Brushing. Dry brushing is the process of brushing your skin with a natural brush to stimulate lymph flow, improve circulation, exfoliate your skin, and help get rid of cellulite. It is also an essential first step before self tanning (which is a must for me in the summer – I use Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Mousse in the lightest shade and it is so natural). Dry brushing makes you feel good, and literally brushes off the day.

2 Physical Activity. This can be anything from taking a walk during your lunch break, going to the gym in the morning or at night, doing a nighttime yoga session in your living room, or going for a run on a nice day.  I recently downloaded the App “Couch to 5K” and am excited to try something new – running. I am not a runner. I have always hated running. But I have been reading more and more about how not only is running good for your physical health but your mental health as well. With the app, you run three days a week for 8 weeks with a guided trainer until you are ready to run a full 5K which is about 3 miles. They make it super easy – even for a non runner like me.

3 Skin Care. Taking care of your skin is SO important. And I don’t mean just taking off your makeup at night and calling it a day. Cleansing and moisturizing is something that I may have skimped on in the past. But now that the weather is changing and we are spending more time in the sun, it’s essential. Recently I have re-subscribed to Birchbox and I have gotten two boxes so far. Birchbox is a great way to try new products without buying a full size version. My favorite sample so far has been the Sunday Riley Sleeping Night Oil.

4 Lemon Water. Okay, I know everyone talks about this but I can not stress enough the benefits of starting your day with some warm lemon water. Lemon water detoxifies and and helps maintain the ph balance in your body. It also aids in digestion, helps your skin (all about this skincare this month!), assists with hydration, and helps promote weight loss.

That’s all I have today – share with me some of your essential daily habits. I LOVE to hear your feedback.

xx Casey

2019 Summer Reading List

ricky's 16th beach birthday
Good Evening Friends! With Memorial Day this weekend the summer is fast approaching, and I am dreaming of days laying by the pool or sitting on my balcony listening to a good book (via my audible app of course!). So today I am sharing with you my summer reading list. Or at least what I have so far because it is ever changing…

Book 1: The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body – Cameron Diaz

In this book Cameron Diaz shares her formula for becoming happier, healthier, and stronger in this positive, essential guide grounded in science and inspired by personal experience. I love that this isn’t just a “drink water, get enough sleep, exercise” advice kind of book. Cameron backs up her guide to healthy living with Science, which sets this book apart from a lot of the other books on this topic. And I love the narrator Sandy Rustin. A narrator can make or break a book, and Sandy’s approach feels like you are talking to a friend.

Book 2: Cottage by the Sea – Debbie Macomber

Debbie is known as the writer behind the books that some of our favorite Hallmark Movies are based on. So I am excited for an easy feel good fiction book to be added to my list.

Book 3: Pretty Fun – Kate Hudson

In Pretty Happy Kate Hudson shares her tips and advice for living a healthy, strong, and mindful life. The book also has a strong focus on the philosophy behind gatherings, and how to be in the moment and make them uniquely yours.

Book 4: A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Now that the TV series is over (and there are mixed reviews on how it ended) I am going to give the books a listen. The first book is 33 hours and 46 minutes long so you can definitely say you are getting your money’s worth out of your one credit. Also there is something so relaxing about a British Narrator.. even if the book is about war.

So there you have it, four very different books lined up for this summer. Any good recommendations to add? Please share!

xx Casey

Inspirational Books I’ve Been Loving

For the past couple months I have swapped listening to music on my way to and from work, in the shower, and while I am cooking, for listening to audio books. I am going to start this by saying “not sponsored” (I wish!) but I have been obsessed with Audible for almost a year now. If you do not know what Audible is, it is an audio book subscription app where for a monthly fee you can choose one new audio book a month. You can also purchase extra credits for a discounted price. When you sign up you get two credits to start off which is great!

I wanted to share with you today a couple of books I have been listening to (besides the Harry Potter books which I have also been listening to – I am finishing up the second one now!) that have been inspiring me lately.

Untitled design (3)

Reshaping it All – Candace Cameron Bure

I loved this book because it follows Candace Cameron’s journey from her struggles with her diet while a young girl om Full House to her relationship with food now. She also shares delicious recipes and stories from her personal life that help you see healthy living in a different way.

I also listened to and enjoyed Kind is the New Classy & Dancing Through Life by Candace Cameron Bure because I just love her! Her books are definitely very Christian based, however the positivity that shines through her books make them great to listen to, especially during stressful times.

Grace not Perfection – Emily Ley

Emily Ley is the creator of the Simplified Planner so this book was all about intentional ways to make your life a little.. simpler.

Cultivate; A Grace Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life – Lara Casey

This book has to be one of my favorites so far, and I know I will be listening to it again. The way that Lara uses her garden as a metaphor for life really inspired me in a way that I haven’t been inspired before. I always feel calmer and more relaxed after listening to a chapter of this book. It has also inspired me to try and grow my own herb garden this Spring!

In search for my next inspirational book I went ahead and downloaded “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. I had heard from many people how much they loved it so I figured I would give it a shot. I am going to be honest with you – I got through this first two chapters or so of this book and I went ahead and returned it. I could not connect with what Rachel was saying and how she was saying it. When she started talking about how if someone falls off of a diet that they are on she can no longer trust them – because how can she trust someone who can not keep a promise to themselves? Something about that struck a negative cord with me and at that point I went ahead and returned it.

That is another great perk of Audible – if you download a book and do not like it, you can return it and they will refund your credit no matter how much you have listened to.

If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them! I can not wait to share my Spring Reading/Listening List with you in a couple of weeks!

xx Casey

 

The Importance of Self Care

Fall in love with caring for yourself. Body, Mind, & Spirit

These days when you hear the words “self care” most women’s minds go to face masks, manicures, and maybe a nice glass of wine at the end of the night. And some days, that is exactly what self care looks like to me. But the concept of self care is much more than that.

To me, self care is about taking the time to care for your mind, body, and spirit – whatever that looks like to you. Sometimes self care is meditating in the morning before you start your day. Sometimes it is spending time with loved ones. And sometimes it is binge watching episodes of Friends for the tenth time. Self care is whatever soothes your soul.

What is self care not? Selfish. It is not selfish to take time for yourself. Whatever season of life you are in, you still need to take the time to make yourself a priority. You can not give your all to the people and things in your life if you are not taking care of yourself first. It is necessary to make yourself a priority.

Self care is all about creating balance in your life. And sometimes? The scales need to tip your way a little more, and that is okay.

xx Casey