november food + fun favorites I

Taco salads. Of course, this really just means a a very small bed of lettuce with chicken or beef, salsa, guac, cheese, beans and crushed chips, but I can’t get enough. Sort of like this one.

These boots. I had mentioned them in my autumn wishlist, but eventually decided that I wasn’t going to purchase them because of the price. I didn’t find anything I liked as much in the time being. At the beginning of the month, I walked into Macy’s and spied them. I only wanted to “try” them on, but the sales associate said she would give me 25% off for the men’s sale that was currently going on. Um… sold! I have lived in them ever since.

This decadent chocolate coconut chia seed and flax mix. Oh my gosh. I have used flax and chias for years, but this takes it to a whole new level. I eyed this in Whole Foods for months before purchasing, but am so glad I took the plunge. LOVE IT.

And… some chocolate in general. Not any old school chocolate, but this chocolove peppermint chocolate and this chuao popcorn pop bar. I don’t consider these to be candy bars – when I think of candy bars I think of Snickers, etc. I keep these to have a square or two after dinner if I want it. You know? Also – Starbucks chocolate peppermint cake pops. Ugh. Killing me smalls.

My bar cart. Am I allowed to use that as a favorite? I’m just totally obsessed with the convenience.

This restaurant. The phrase “licked my plate clean” could not even begin to describe it. Seriously.

Giada’s Feel Good Food. I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked this past month, but I sure as heck read through this whole book. I love Giada. I’ve already made a few of these recipes and getting to see a little bit behind the scenes was fun.

Sourdough cinnamon toast. It’s so boring but it takes cinnamon toast to a whole new level and reminds me of my childhood. Even ate it for dinner one night. yep yep.

Christmas movies. I am such a sucker. All-time favorite is, of course, Christmas Vacation, but I also adore The Family Stone, The Holiday and It’s a Wonderful Life.

And Christmas music! So I might do a whole post on it… yeah I’m that person. And of course I’m talking about the NSYNC Christmas album.

The Trader Joe’s truffle salt tins. They are either new or they come out only around the holidays, but the tin is about $5 and the flavor is pretty spot on. Not as delicious as the $38 truffle salt from Whole Foods… but close.

This circle scarf. It’s HUGE! My brother and his girlfriend got it for me last Christmas and it is the one I have been reaching for the most this year. It’s so thick and warm.

For TV, I’ve got to give it to the Walking Dead. As much as it totally breaks my heart, it’s expected and I can’t get over how top notch some of the acting is. I’m always interested in the storyline, whereas… Homeland is another story.

My moleskine notebooks. Things have been super crazy lately and I would not survive without making two or three lists per day. I’m much more of a pen-and-paper person over electronic calendars, and I have been blowing through these notebooks. I just love how they are slim and lightweight too. P.S. I get mine at Target. All sizes!

On that same note, these big ass sticky notes. No explanation needed.

Vanilla almond butter. I’ve waxed (un)poetic on my dislike of almond butter for years, but man… this has changed the game. I can’t get over it.

My fit bit! I mentioned this in my gift guide with good reason – I love it. I don’t necessarily use it to track my workouts or anything, but I really like using it as motivation for an active lifestyle. Working out has always been a habit for me, but I want to continue to live an active life when I’m NOT working out… i.e. not sitting on my butt as much. My dad and grandpa have always been really active in general and I aim to be just like them. So that’s that.

[none of this is sponsored, just like to talk about things that I discover and love. there are a few amazon affiliate links above. love love.]

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42 Responses to “November Favorites: Food + Fun.”

  1. #
    Erica W — December 2, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

    loooooooove that circle scarf, too! I have one in black acid-wash because I’m so cool haha


  2. #
    Whit — December 2, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

    Always check for great discounts on Fryes, I look pretty frequently and have gotten all of mine like 50-60% off. Best boots ever, and those are super cute!


  3. #
    Erin @ GoBananasBlog — December 2, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

    I’m converting as many people as possible to Fitbit. I looooove mine! Such a great motivator!

    Last night, a coworker pulled ahead of me in the 7 day step total so I went and ran 5.5 miles. It’s such a great motivator!


    • Stephanie — December 2nd, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

      What model Fitbit do you have? I want one also.


      • Jessica — December 2nd, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

        i have the flex and love it, but if you don’t want to wear something on your wrist then i’d probably recommend the one that clips.

    • Jessica — December 2nd, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

      and OMG erin that is amazing, ha.


  4. #
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs — December 2, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

    I’m pretty much in love with everything on this list :)

    And last night’s Walking Dead? Heartbreaking. Do you watch Talking Dead after? The actors who play Hershel & Maggie were on as guests — it was great (I would say more, but don’t want to spoil anything for anyone!)


    • Jessica — December 2nd, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

      yes yes, LOVE the talking dead. i need it after the show to come down off the emotional roller coaster i’m on for the hour before.


  5. #
    Francesca — December 2, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

    I’ve been pondering a fit bit for a while now! Which model do you have?


    • Jessica — December 2nd, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

      the flex! i love it, but if you don’t want to wear something on your wrist all day (i don’t mind since i work from home), then i’d probably get the one that clips.


  6. #
    cindy — December 2, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

    I’d love another pair of Frye boots…those are SO CUTE! They are just so quality and totally worth the dollars.

    I also would love a FitBit, maybs for Christmas…we’ll see :)


  7. #
    Ashley — December 2, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

    LOVE THOSE BOOTS. the end.


  8. #
    Julie — December 2, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

    Justin’s vanilla almond butter is my favorite ever!


  9. #
    violet — December 2, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

    I’m vegetarian so I can’t even eat most of your recipes, but I follow you mostly because of your tv rants and beauty product gushing. basically i want you to adopt me.


    • Jessica — December 2nd, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

      THANK YOU!


  10. #
    Tracey — December 2, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

    I wound up finding and ordering the Frye boots using a great Cyber Monday promo on Amazon. So excited!!


    • Jessica — December 2nd, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

      oh i’m so glad!! i know you had your eye on them. :)


  11. #
    Lisa — December 3, 2013 @ 2:12 am

    I also cannot get enough Christmas music & movies. I just watched The Holiday…love it!!


  12. #
    Meg Jones | The Spatularettes — December 3, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    So glad to see your “licked my plate clean” review of Butcher and the Rye. I was toying with the ideas of getting my brother and his fiancee a giftcard there for Christmas (bc really… what does one get their older brother for Christmas??)


  13. #
    Nicholle C. — December 3, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    I love the concept of the chocolate coconut chia seed and flax mix, but what exactly would you do with it/ use it for? Can you make granola with it? Mix it in yogurt? Bake with it?


    • Jessica — December 4th, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

      yes, i think all of the above. i use it mostly in smoothies and in yogurt, but i’ve also put flax and chia in granola before and i think it would be perfect.


  14. #
    betty — December 3, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    omfg. walking dead. I literally had to pick my jaw up off the ground after that episode.. wasn’t expecting that. not sure how i’m suppose to make it until February.


  15. #
    Victoria Bakrdjian — December 3, 2013 @ 9:19 am

    OMG I just bought the new Fitbit Force because of your holiday gift guide (a gift to myself, though, ha!). I am insanely excited and impatient to get it (sometime before Christmas because I live in Canada and shipping always takes ages. Ugh). Like you, I enjoying working out but I don’t do it all the time, so on days when I don’t train, I’d like to make sure I get my 10,000 steps in at the very least.

    I’m curious, though, during workouts such as boot camp, where you’re not on some stationary cardio machine, how accurate is it? Does it read your movements pretty well? It should register high-knees, squat jumps, etc., no?


    • Jessica — December 3rd, 2013 @ 10:27 am

      i have the flex – so the force might do more. but yes, it’s good about counting the movements in workouts like bootcamp, running, dance classes, etc. i wear it during yoga and it counts the steps too – however i know i’m working a lot harder in certain positions when i’m not stepping and it’s probably not counting. you know? but i am okay with that because i’m more so using it as a motivational tool when i’m not working out, if that makes sense.

      i haven’t tried it yet on a stationary bike or the elliptical/arc trainer. i am anxious to see because i’ve heard that it only counts the steps by impact, and those are no impact activities. if you try it, let me know! as for things like high knees, squat jumps or anything like doing insanity – definitely counts it!


  16. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — December 3, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    Moleskin notebooks. Yes. The end.


  17. #
    Kate Woods — December 3, 2013 @ 9:31 am

    I’ve been wanting to try that restaurant! If you ever come to Baltimore, you MUST go to Woodbury Kitchen, Very similar to the Butcher and the Rye.


  18. #
    Jen — December 3, 2013 @ 11:06 am

    I LOVE my FitBit. I have the flex and really want to upgrade to the Force. I only take it off to charge it. At 1st it bothered me being all my wrist and never taking it off, but now I just feel naked without it.

    Let me know if you want to be friends on fitbit to help keep each other motivated! :)


  19. #
    Yael — December 3, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    How exactly do you eat only one or two squares of those chocolate bars?! I keep them in my desk at work and the peppermint chocolove one barely lasted two days. Oops.

    Have you ever tried the Salazon Chocolate Co.Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Organic Turbinado Cane Sugar bars? They sell them at Whole Foods here and I’m just not allowed to buy them anymore, ever. Not enough self control. But so good.


    • Jessica — December 4th, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

      i have not… but they sound incredible.


  20. #
    Jennifer — December 3, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

    As someone relatively new to PGH, I love when you post local restaurant tidbits! I am always looking for good places to try.


  21. #
    Melinda — December 3, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    I had a dish at Butcher in the Rye that would turn me vegetarian for life, if I could eat it every day (the cauliflower). LOVE.


  22. #
    Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages — December 3, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

    I am obsessed with Justin’s vanilla almond butter. It is amazing! They haven’t had it the last few times I’ve been to Whole Foods and I’ve seriously almost cried.

    If I was still working (aka not a poor grad student) I would totally be buying those Frye boots. Love them.


  23. #
    Bethany — December 3, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

    Is Butcher & the Rye owned by the same people as Meat & Potatoes? Ate at M&P when visiting PGH a few summers ago and it was amazing. We were eating at the bar and starting talking to an older couple who randomly went to the same high schools (North Catholic and St. Benedicts) as my parents and around the same time. Too cute.
    Giada’s new book has been on my amazon wishlist since before it came out – might have to bite the bullet now…


    • Jessica — December 4th, 2013 @ 4:02 pm



  24. #
    Lesley H — December 3, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

    Rabbit pierogi. What the whaaat.


  25. #
    Melissa @ Treats With a Twist — December 4, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    That vanilla almond butter is my FAV! SO amazing!
    And I want that scarf!
    Good for you on the boots! I’ve been dying for a pair too!
    I need a fitbit or a jawbone up or something like that. I’m really active but I’m totally Type A and I want to see what I’m doing :)


  26. #
    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — December 5, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

    I bought my first pair of Frye boots this year too and have no regrets! They are so well made and look great. Although, high five for ‘N SYNC Christmas! It ain’t Christmas until that CD is played through at least once. Which for me must happen as soon as the calendar hits December.


  27. #
    Larry — December 6, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

    I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS. MUSIC! Do you have Christina (Aguilera, duh)’s Christmas album?! SO GOOD. Perfect to go with the *NSYNC xmas album (which I just got for the first time [I know right?]) and it’s awesomeeeeeeee!


  28. #
    Reen — December 9, 2013 @ 3:54 am

    Love all the movies you mentioned, however, if you’ve never seen Elf then you need to see it before the year’s out…it is our family’s annual must see favorite…it is just hilarious….Will Ferrell is soo funny!!


  29. #
    Vanessa — December 9, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    Love the boots!! I was wondering, how is the sizing and the fit??



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