Online Vitamins

I feel like whenever a new brand of online vitamins comes out they automatically target me on Facebook ads. I kept seeing the ads for these two vitamin brands until I finally cracked and decided to give them a go.

The first ones were Care Of which come in separate little pouches and include a variety of different capsules. There is a little questionnaire that you can go through to see what you need to be feeling your best. This felt like a bit of fluff for me because some of the supplements they were recommending did not seem like an item that is essential to my wellbeing. With that being said I decided to try them out anyways. They had five recommendations for me, which were: Astaxanthin, Calcium, Fish Oil, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola. I'm no expert but I felt like calcium and fish oil were the main things I needed, what can I say, I'm a rebel.

I did a month of those vitamins and I can't say I've experienced a big change. If you like flexibility and the ability to pick and choose which supplements you want to receive each month this is a good option for that.
The second vitamins I did for 3 months, these vitamins are called Ritual. With these ones you don't get to pick and choose, they provide a pack per month which is filled with enough capsules for a month. You have to take 2 capsules a day, the capsules are pretty neat in that they are see-through. I liked these ones slightly better because they included all of the things that you might need, without me having to take matters into my own hands and trying to decide whether I should be taking a certain supplement or not.

I think I felt a but more energy while taking these but it could also be a placebo effect. Overall I just liked knowing that I was taking daily vitamins and that felt like a small step in the right direction. Full disclosure, I paid for both of them and I'm just sharing my personal opinions. This is not a sponsored post.

This year I want to take more steps to self-care and I think that taking supplements is one of those steps. I don't know if I'll continue on with either one of these but it did feel nice having a supplement taking routine.

Do you take vitamins? Which brands do you like and why? 

Stockholm Highlights

When planning out last Euro trip Alex and I didn't have a specific place in mind, we wanted to go somewhere we've never been before. Tickets were pretty cheap (via Norwegian airlines, which I will have to review at a later time) and we decided that since we've never been to Scandinavia this time was as good as any.

Stockholm, Sweden was our first stop. We spent a couple of days there, staying at a hostel in old town (Galma Stan). It was a convenient location to be in because a lot of the main sights were nearby and it was centrally located. We were blown away by how beautiful and unique Stockholm was and we didn't expect to love it as much as we did. Sweden might be my favorite country that I've visited so far, which will hopefully prompt you to go there too!

Swedish is a really tough language to learn but luckily for us everyone here knew English in restaurants, stores, and even people on the street whom we asked for directions. Everyone was incredibly nice and I think that makes Sweden a great country to visit if you aren't too comfortable traveling to where most people won't know your language.
Meatballs (and food in general) is a huge thing whenever I go somewhere new. I'm happy to report that I got my fix of the glorious Swedish meatballs, they were incredible.  We went to Meatballs for the People located in S√∂dermalm. All of the things I got to try while in Stockholm were awesome and if I get a chance to come back I would definitely do it all over again and for sure go out and find the infamous meatballs!
Cinnamon rolls are another thing that is super popular in Sweden, so definitely seek those out if you have the chance! I was surprised that this was such a popular dessert but they turned out very tasty so we were happy to have cinnamon rolls readily available. We ventured out to Rosendals Garden which is a super cool organic restaurant with some seriously delicious eats. It's located in Djurg√•rden which is a little ways away from the old town area of Stockholm but is totally worth a visit. We walked there but the public transit is very good and there is a lot of subway access, buses and trains. Also there are a bunch of ferries going there so there is no shortage of commute options.
Stockholm is called Venice of the north because it's surrounded by water. We really enjoyed being able to take ferries and cross its many bridges. We took so many photos but I haven't really sifted through them all to find the best ones, yet, even though we went there at the end of September. We didn't visit many museums while there, the only one we went to was the Vasa museum, which has the Vasa ship that sank in the harbor in Stockholm in 17th century. Getting to see the ship was pretty incredible and learning about the way ships operated was neat.
Sweden is normally a destination where people aim to go in the summer but we went at the end of September (September 29th to be exact) and we really liked it there. It was getting chillier out but I think cooler weather adds extra charm to Stockholm. There were a lot of patios with heat lamps and blankets so there was an opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. We really loved how peaceful and quiet Stockholm was and we would definitely come back here again.

Have you been to Stockholm? Where are you going for your next trip?

December 2017 Reading Wrap Up

For some reason December tends to always be a solid reading month for me. I think that could be because I'm always desperate to meet my Goodreads reading challenge goal, which I ended up failing for the second year in a row. In 2018 I'm aiming to read 50 books but who knows how that's going to go.

How to Be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky (4/5) - You wont normally find me reading self help type books but this one came recommended from a podcast I enjoy (Call Your Girlfriend). I liked how there was a variety of questions that people asked and how solid Polly's responses were. She gave awesome advice and I think a lot of people would benefit from it. So if you're in the mood to solve some problems that you might have, definitely give it a go.

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane (4/5) - I've really enjoyed his books in the past, he's written a few good ones. You might be familiar with Shutter Island. This book was a quick read, as most his books are, but it did take me a little white to get into it. The beginning was slower than I would've liked. With that being said, the plot had a bunch of twists and turns so it's a good read if you like thrillers.

Final Girls  by Riley Sager (4/5) - I didn't know what to expect from this book, but it seemed promising. I really liked it and the twist was very unexpected, I've had a few guesses along the way but I did not see this coming. It was a quick read for me and it's an overall a great thriller.

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter (3/5) - Interesting book with a good main character and a decent storyline. I got into it right away and was interested in it throughout. The ending wasn't as promising as I thought it would be but it was a pretty decent book.

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce (3/5) - I liked how well written this book was and it was interesting to have a main character with a Japanese background. It was tough for me to really understand what the point of the book was, but the descriptive language and interesting characters made up for it.

Lucky You by Erika Karter (2/5) - Another book that seemed to be about nothing. Each chapter is narrated by a different character in the book but none of them were very likable or relatable. Luckily it was a pretty short book so reading it didn't feel torturous but this book was not thought provoking or engaging.

Have you read any good book lately? 

New Year's Resolutions

Whoa, can you believe that it's 2018 already? I feel like 2017 flew by so quickly. I'm not usually big on resolutions, because I feel like they put a bit of pressure on you and you feel very restricted by them. This year I just want to live better and calmer. Worry less and enjoy life more. Here's some specific things that I think will benefit me this year.

My new motto, "but no one died". Sounds morbid, but just hear me out. I sometimes tend to make a big deal about little things that shouldn't matter. In the grand scheme of things a lot of the stuff that I end up worrying about are really small and insignificant. I want to stop that. A delayed flight sucks, but it's not the worst thing in the world. A package lost in the mail is inconvenient, but I'll live. I want to stop stressing over the little things, because I feel like it's a waste of life and I should really try to look at things with a more positive twist. Focusing on the bad side of things probably ages me like 10 years, I really gotta snap out of it.

No shopping.  I read an article called My Year of No Shopping and it really resonated with me. It's a great read if you haven't come across it before. I've thought about giving up shopping for a year but I didn't want to feel trapped and restricted. So I've decided to take my own approach and make it work for me. I've decided to not buy clothes or shoes this year. An exception of it would be if for example my shoes got ruined or something like that. Or if a shirt ripped, or if I got something on it and I needed to replace it. But no completely new purchases of stuff I "thought I needed".

I've decided not to buy makeup unless I run out of something that I need. Same with skincare, if I run out of my face cream I can go out and purchase a replacement. But I won't be buying another bronzer if I already have one. My shopping "ban" doesn't affect gifts, so I will still be getting gifts for birthdays and holidays.

I also want to limit the amount of spending money I have. Right now I'm not setting a limit, so if I want something I go for it. I want to have a set amount that I get a week, maybe $20 and if I don't need anything that week I can save it and have $40 the following week and so forth. Basically I want to curb my spending on things I know I don't need, like books, but sometimes want.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? What are your resolutions this year? 

Washington DC Trip Recap

You know you've slacked very badly if it's December and you still haven't posted about a trip you took for Labor Day. Yep, that's me, just posting about our trip now. We got to spend the long weekend in Washington DC and it was a great time. We took an early morning train there, it was a great ride and the tickets weren't very expensive.

We stayed at a hotel that was close to the National Mall, which is where all of the exciting sights are. It's called Grand Hyatt Washington and we got a good deal on it through Hot Wire, which is a website that we normally use to find cheap hotels in US cities.

The very first day we arrived it was a rainy day out. So we strolled around and looked at the monuments. We wanted to go to some of the free museums but the lines were massive. I guess everyone had the same idea about hiding somewhere from the rain. Ironically enough, the next day when it was sunny and warm out there were absolutely no lines for any of the museums so we were able to go right in.

Since the National Mall was the main attraction for us (it's my first time in DC) we made sure to see all of the monuments. We started our journey by seeing the Washington Monument, it's up on a hill and has a great view of surrounding areas. Then we followed the path from there to World War II memorial (the photo above). From there the Reflecting Pool was right in front of us. I was very excited about that pool because I feel like you always see it in movies (yes, Forrest Gump) or shows so it was very cool to see that whole area in real life. I guess I didn't expect all of the memorials to be so close together.
I think the highlight of my trip was seeing the Lincoln Memorial, but I'm sure it's a highlight of everyone's trip! It had a magnificent view onto the pool and it was a great spot for snapping photos. I also liked how it wasn't super packed, there were a few people there but no crowds. Of course we had to go for the selfies with the view, who could blame us?
Along with these we also stopped by the Vietnam Veterans memorial, Korean War Veterans memorial, Martin Luther King Jr memorial, FDR memorial, and Thomas Jefferson memorial. Overall it was really exciting to see all of these memorials in person, they were incredible. So I highly recommend a trip to DC if you get the chance. That night we had dinner at Right Proper Brewing Company, the beers were very good there if that's what you're into!
The following day we also ventured out and saw Georgetown area of DC, which was gorgeous. Quiet streets and beautiful homes is what this area was all about. Nearby there is also a pretty bustling shopping area, so it's the best of both worlds. We had a nice pizza dinner there at il Canale as we were taking a break from strolling around and working up an appetite.

On the final day, when we didn't have too much time to spend around town so we decided to visit the Capitol, which is not pictured because we weren't able to snap any good photos of it or even get close to it. They had it blocked off for some event. Along with that, since we were in the neighborhood and couldn't miss it, we went for a stroll by the White House.
After seeing it so much on TV in movies, shows, and on the news it was really neat to see it in person. We went pretty early in the morning so we were pretty much the only people there to see it. Either way it was a cool experience.

So there you have it, our trip to Washington DC in a nutshell. I must also be forgetting some details of the trip since a few months have gone by but overall it was a great time and if you haven't been there before I highly recommend it.

Have you been on any fun trips lately? Have you ever been to Washington DC?

Jingle Bell Jog Recap

With the picture above I guess I'm starting at the end! After the race we made our way from Prospect Park, where the race was, to Fort Greene where Alex convinced me to get a real tree but that's a different story. The picture above is of me with the tree before we boarded the city bus. To add to that, we weren't the only people hauling a Christmas tree on the bus, just so you know how city folks have to rough it :P

Back to the Jingle Bell Jog. It's the end of the year but Alex and I were itching to sign up for a race. This was pretty much the only short race left so we signed up for it. It seemed like a fun, no pressure 5k to dip our toes into the whole race thing.

That's us looking really pleased with ourselves before the race. The whole atmosphere was great, everyone was dressed up for the most part. There were lots of Santas, candy canes, some elfs, and also reindeer.  We decided to dress up modestly and just rock some Santa hats.

We've been following a great guide for training for a half marathon, though we're nowhere ready to run one yet. Since we've been running 5k or more for a few weeks now we thought it was a good distance for start. I'm slow as molasses in January, I can only do somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 minute miles but I'm hoping that over time I'll be able to get faster. My goal for this race was to try and run it in under 30 minutes, which I failed to do. I didn't feel too bad about it though. This race had a large incline and after mile 2 I had a pretty bad side stitch so I had to slow down but I decided I wasn't going to walk at all so I powered through. Eventually there was a downhill so the side stitch eased up and I was able to pick up some speed closer to the finish line.

Above I'm just waiting for the race to start and on the right it's me finishing up the race. Alex and I started in different groups because he's faster than me but it was still fun. I made a special playlist with Christmas music so I had that to enjoy the whole time I was running. Since Alex got done with the race before me he was able to snap my glorious finish :)

After the finish there was water, bagels, apples, and hot chocolate waiting for us! I was pleased with the refreshments and we were both glad that we signed up for this race. As soon as we got home we signed up for our next race! We're going to be doing a 4 mile run in February. I really wanted to do something sooner but with the holidays and our trip to Canada there weren't really any other races for us to do. The next race will also be in Prospect Park, so it will be nice to be more familiar with the course. 

Do you like to run? What's your favorite outdoor activity? 

November 2017 Wrap Up

Watching: I just finished watching Black Mirror, whatever of it is on Netflix, and I have to say that show is SO good. Every singe episode is thought provoking and really makes you want to stop and think about the world. Another show I just started is The Magnificent Mrs Maisel, it's an Amazon original series. It's a light, easy to watch show but it has lots of funny moments and it's just what I've been looking for after finishing How I Met Your Mother. It's kind of like a Mad Men comedy show.

Reading: I finally got through It by Stephen King. It was a long read but it was good and if you like his writing I recommend it. I felt like the book was a bit too long and some stuff was dragging at times but overall it was a decent read. In December I'm focusing on thrillers, mystery, and suspense novels. Right now I'm reading Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. It's a good read so far and I can feel things getting more twisted by the minute.

Listening: Not much, but mostly Christmas music. Now that it's December I feel like it's socially acceptable to finally listen to it with no shame.

Doing: Alex and I got into running and we've been running since September. At first it was tough and I could barely run a mile but yesterday we ran a 5k and it went well. It was my first ever race and I thought it was a lot of fun. We've already signed up for our next race and I'm really looking forward to it.

Planning: Our holiday trip. As per usual we will be going to Canada for New Year's. So we will be spending Christmas here and then for my birthday and NYE we will be in Canada. It's good to go back because we haven't been there in a year.

Wanting: Complete my Goodreads reading challenge for this year. I set the bar pretty low with only 40 books and I'm like 10 books away from achieving so I will do my best to catch up by the end of the year. Hopefully reading mystery and suspense novels will help.

Loving: Candles from Bath & Body Works. I only ever get them if they're on sale and luckily I came across them when they were $12 so I got a couple and just yesterday they were $8 so I got a couple more. Most of them are pine scented so our home smells like forest filled with Christmas trees but it's so calming and I've been really loving it.

Whats new with you lately? I know it's been a while. 
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