GO INSPO: CHANNELING MY INNER GREEN THUMB


Check out my newest GoInspo post where I share my newest green additions to my living room space and some fun ideas on how you can bring the garden indoors. 

View from my favorite corner of the couch. Beautiful peonies and plants sprinkled in amidst the colorful art.

View from my favorite corner of the couch. Beautiful peonies and plants sprinkled in amidst the colorful art.

Peony season is my favorite season

Peony season is my favorite season

Pots from Target's OpalHouse line, plants from Trader Joe's

Pots from Target's OpalHouse line, plants from Trader Joe's

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Everything You Need for Spring...In One Box


FabFitFun! Have you guys ever gotten their boxes before?!?!

FabFitFun is a subscription box with full-size fashion, beauty, fitness and lifestyle products. The box comes out once each season and I just received the Spring Editor's Box and it is AMAZING! 

 

The box retails for $49.99 but always has a value over $200. Way over $200 if you ask me! They put so much in there! If you sign up now you can still get your own Spring Editor’s Box before it sells out!

 

Use coupon code KITC for $10 off your first box at fabfitfun.com

 

The Spring Editor's Box from FabFitFun!

The Spring Editor's Box from FabFitFun!


Here is a list of all the amazing goodies that were in my Spring Editor’s Box box:

  • Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Treatment
  • Briogeo Deep Conditioning Mask
  • Homemade by Ayesha Curry Ceramic Mug
  • Free People Starry Eyed Travel Eye Mask
  • Fashion Choice: Summer & Rose Striped Tote
    • Or some people get a Rachel Pally Clutch
  • Shower Choice: Spongelle French Lavender Buffer
    • Or some people get a Daily Concepts Hair Towel Wrap
  • Relaxation Choice: Grace & Stella Bath Bombs
    • Or some people get a MYTAGALONGS Hot/Cold Pack
  • Beauty Choice: Tarte Double Duty Leave Your Mark Eyeshadow Palette
    • Or some people get a Tarte Lip Paint

 

Use coupon code KITC for $10 off your first box at fabfitfun.com

I'm so excited about all of the products! I am a total bath girl so the the Spongelle French Lavender Buffer and Grace & Stella Bath Bombs are perfect for me. I will sit and soak while I use the Briogeo Deep Conditioning Mask, which when you have hair as blonde as mine, deep conditioning is always needed!

 

I sleep in an insanely bright bedroom, with only sheer panels on my huge patio doors, so the Free People mask is going to save my life on those weekend mornings when I actually can sleep in. Then I can wake up to the cutest mug ever, created by one of the cutest people ever, Ayesha Curry! Look how adorable it is, I love it! It also happens to be my favorite color :D

 

The FabFitFun team definitely read my mind with the Tarte eyeshadow palette because shimmery neutrals are always my favorite. I'm excited to experiment with them. And finally the Summer & Rose Striped Tote is coming with me on every beach and pool trip this summer! Super cute and nautical and is lined inside for wet swimsuits and whatnot! Genius! 

 

Get your own box! There is still time to get this same Spring Editor's Box!

 

Use coupon code KITC for $10 off your first box at fabfitfun.com


KETO RECIPE: KETO BIRTHDAY CAKE!


KETO RECIPE: KETO BIRTHDAY CAKE! by Jen Fisch via Keto In The City

One thing you don't think of, when you think of eating Keto, is CAKE! But thanks to creative bakers out there you can find lots of Keto approved cake recipes on Pinterest, Instagram and the internet! This recipe came to me through my own blog when I interviewed Sarah Luft aka @livinglowcarbhighfat. The interview and the original recipe she gave me can be found HERE. Since the interview I have made the cake 4 times, once into mini cupcakes, Twice into sheet cake, and now once into an AMAZEBALLS double layer Birthday Cake!!!

My daughter is obsessed with this cake and as soon as I made this cake for the first time, she announced that she wanted it for her upcoming 13th Birthday! Today is the birthday and I delivered! She also informed me that we would be eating it for breakfast haha, so we did! 

I made the cakes 2 nights ago and then wrapped them up and put them in the fridge. Last night I trimmed the top off of one cake to even it out and made the buttercream frosting and then frosted the cake. Then I put it in the fridge for a couple hours to let the buttercream harden, and then I wrapped it up in foil (around the cake stand so it was just barely touching the cake), and let it sit in the fridge over night. 

I have mentioned this before, but this cake is way better cold! So be patient and let it chill! I made a double batch for the 2 layer cake and I was out of a couple things so see my notes below! 

 

 

KETO BIRTHDAY CAKE! 

Here is the recipe doubled for a 2 layer cake: 

  • 10 Eggs (I use Vital Farms) 
  • 1 stick (cup) melted butter (I use Kerrygold salted)
  • 1 can of pure pumpkin puree
    • So technically you need 2 cups of pumpkin, but 1 can is only about 1 1/2 cups and I didn't have another can, so I added 1/2 a cup of cream cheese to make up for it! It worked! (I used this Pure Pumpkin)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
    • I forgot about the lemon and didn't have one, I squeezed a thing of lime juice I had in the fridge but there was barely any in it. So I poured a little Zevia Cream Soda in the mix instead, because I didn't have anything lemony haha. I couldn't tell the difference when I ate it! 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean
  • 1 cup coconut flour (I use Bob's Red Mill) 
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 cup xylitol (or sweetener of choice, I used Truvia at 1/2 the amount)
  • 2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  1. Combine wet ingredients and mix well.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.

At this point you can make muffins, one cake in a large loaf pan, or cook separated batter in individual well buttered mini loaf pans. For the double layer cake I bought a pack of 2 cheap cake pans at Target and sprayed them with Coconut Oil Spray (also from Target because I live there:). The pans were like $1.99 so I was worried, but they worked perfectly! The cooking time will vary for the different preparations, but it will likely take at least 35 - 45 min. Just watch it and check it with a toothpick.

Cooking temp: 350

 

KETO BUTTERCREAM FROSTING 

  • 10-12 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 stick (cup) butter (softened)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • Sweetener of choice (I used confectioners swerve to taste)
  • I also put a couple tbsp of heavy cream in the buttercream to thin it out a bit, thatpart is optional
KETO RECIPE: KETO BIRTHDAY CAKE! by Jen Fisch via Keto In The City
KETO RECIPE: KETO BIRTHDAY CAKE! by Jen Fisch via Keto In The City
KETO RECIPE: KETO BIRTHDAY CAKE! by Jen Fisch via Keto In The City

 

 

TRAVELING WITH A TWEEN: SHOWING MY DAUGHTER THE WORLD


Us in Hawaii 2007

Us in Hawaii 2007

My daughter is turning 12 next month, which is both exciting and terrifying because the teen years are around the corner. But the exciting part is that she is now old enough to be a great travel companion. She’s been a lot of places in her young life. By the time she was six years old she had been to Hawaii 6 times, but guess what? She has no memory of it. She doesn’t remember Cozumel either or a whole list of other trips we’ve taken. So now I feel like she has finally reached an age that if I take her on amazing trips she will remember them and carry those experiences into her adult life.

Last summer I went on an epic trip by myself. It was my first solo travel experience other than business trips and it was incredible. I started my adventure in Playa del Carmen for a few days and then from there traveled to Tulum for a week. From Tulum I hopped on a bus to the border of Mexico and Belize and then water taxied to a little island called Caye Caulker, Belize. The 4 days I spent in Caye Caulker were some of the most relaxing days I have ever had. I had the time of my life!

It was during that trip that I came up with the idea of traveling with my daughter Kaia to a different country every summer until she graduates from high school. That leaves 6 summers to explore at least 6 different cultures.

Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker, Belize

So our adventure begins on July 20th and I can’t wait. We will be starting where I left off last summer, Caye Caulker. I fell in love with that little island and I can’t wait to share it with my daughter. Then after 4 nights or so in Caye Caulker we are going to go to Placencia, Belize. I heard about Placencia from my dental hygienist! She is from there and told me they have the best beaches in Belize, so of course I must check it out! Then after that we are heading to Roatan, Honduras! I discovered Roatan by looking at a map of Belize and trying to figure out what was nearby, saw Roatan, searched it on Pinterest, saw these photos and I was sold!

Placencia, Belize

Placencia, Belize

Part of what I want to teach her is of course that she is very blessed to lead the life she does. I work very hard to provide every thing I can for her and as she moves into her teen years I want to transition her desires from “things” to “experiences”. I want her to have a better understanding of the world around her and I love the idea of both of us getting a global education together. I want to show her there are more exciting things than apps and Netflix. I want to watch her explore and nurture her natural sense of curiosity. I want to hear her whine less and squeal with delight more.

So I am very excited for this trip and all of the trips that will follow in the next six years. We’re starting with Central America but Europe, Africa, and South America are all in my future plans. I am going to target certain areas that have particular meaning to us, I am starting with Belize because I really fell in love with it last year and I want her to experience it too. Plus we are both total beach bums so any island location will always be at the top of my list.

I hope to show Kaia that traveling the world is the best education. Travel makes you brave. Travel tests you and forces you to be resilient and able to exist in situations which might not be comfortable. I want to raise a risk taker and a global citizen who will be able to confidently enter adulthood with a unique perspective. 3 months and counting until take off:)

 

 


This blog was originally posted on my other blog, Swirl Nation Blog


MOM HACK: QUEEN OF DELIVERY!


If there is one thing I absolutely LOVE it is having every imaginable thing delivered right to my door. When I say everything, I mean it. If there is an app that will do my laundry, run my errands, clean my house- I have used it.

This all started last year when I broke my ankle and had to have surgery. This meant crutches and a cast for 3 months. Definitely annoying and as a single mom there was no one else to run all of the errands so I had to figure it out! Lucky for me we live in an age where virtually everything can be delivered right to your door! Here is my review of some of my favorite time saving services.

 

That is when I discovered yummy.com which is a grocery delivery service in Los Angeles. If you are near one of their markets they will deliver to you within 30 minutes. Amazing! Of course they have a somewhat limited selection of items and with delivery fees and tipping the delivery guy it gets expensive FAST. So at this point I pretty much only use yummy when it is 9pm, my daughter is asleep and I decide that I “need” wine or gelato or something similarly healthy:)

So then I discovered Google Express. YOU GUYS… Google Express has CHANGED MY LIFE!    Not even being dramatic (ok maybe a little;). But seriously it is pretty great. If you have it in your area you should check it out for sure! They deliver from a bunch of different stores but the ones I use the most are Target and Costco. But they also have REIUltaToys R UsWhole FoodsStaples and lots more. Need a tent delivered? They can do that?! Need a last minute present for a baby shower?! They can do that! Have a date and realized you have no makeup?! They can do that! You get the picture…

Google Express Stores in my area

The Costco by my house in Marina del Rey is a total nightmare. Costco + In-N-Out in one parking lot = disaster. So I was thrilled to find a service that will deliver my bulk Smart Water right to my door without any stress:) Then there is Target… everyone knows what happens when you actually go to Target. You have 3 things on your list and end up walking out spending like $300. So I actually think using Google Express saves me money. Now there is one major downside to Google Express and that is they do not deliver cold or frozen items as of right now. I did receive an email from them saying there were going to start this service soon in Los Angeles, so I am crossing my fingers that starts soon! The cost for Google Express is $95 a year, and you get 6 months for free when you first sign up. Every delivery is free as long as you spend $15 at each store. They have a few delivery windows each day you can choose from.

Google Express

Since Google Express can’t bring me cold or frozen groceries I had to find someone else to do that- so I started using Instacart which I saw at the Whole Foods by my house. They deliver from a few different places too, but I only use them for Whole Foods. You get your first delivery free and after that the delivery cost depends on how much you buy, if you spend over $35 it is $3.99. You do get to select your level of tip before you check out and the pricing of the items is the same as in-store. Instacart has shoppers that help put your order together and text you when something is out of stock and ask if you want a replacement item and things like that which is a nice personal touch.

Instacart
Washio

That pretty much covers my groceries. But you can get more than just groceries through apps! One of my other guilty pleasures that I used all the time when my ankle was broken is WashioWashio picks up your laundry and dry cleaning and drops is back off all folded and clean. It is amazing. Not cheap, but amazing. Now that my ankle is back to new I feel too guilty to use Washio very often. So I only do it if I am having a particularly crazy week. I’m not positive but it seems like they have been tweaking their prices lately so you’ll have to check, but between my daughter and I we usually have about 4 loads of laundry each week and I want to say it was around $40 or something like that. There are delivery fees and you tip their Delivery Ninjas as they call them, so it is expensive. In contrast it would cost me $5 to do the same amount if I used the washer and dryer outside my patio which is a quarter-operated unit. So definitely a luxury.

And then finally someone has to clean the house and I would really rather it not be me! So I have used the now defunct Homejoy and then I switched to Handy after getting a free cleaning from one of their brand ambassadors as a local food truck night in Marina del Rey. I had a cleaning woman with Handy I really liked, but she left and then I did too. Lately I have been trying some new ones, I might give Tidy a shot next. I am not that picky of a customer with cleaning people, as long as someone else is doing it and doing a pretty good job I am happy. But I haven’t quite found the perfect match.

Then there are a host of other food delivery apps out there that will bring you breakfast, lunch or dinner like Uber EatsGrubHub and Munchery. I don’t use these very often because as you can see up above I get a lot of groceries delivered! I also get Blue Apron and Plated delivered which I covered on a previous blog. But every once and awhile we decide to get dinner delivered.

Munchery is the most unique. They are chef prepared meals that are partially ready but you need to heat them up and finish them once they are delivered. I like that they have unique offerings by cool chefs, you could totally make a dinner party super easy by going this route.

So by now you are probably thinking “THIS WOMAN IS CRAZY!” or “THIS WOMAN IS LAZY!” but honestly this gives me so much time back with my daughter. I would get so frustrated when I had to spend my free time with my daughter going from store to store. On the weekends there are so many other things I would rather do with her then drive from Costco to Target to Whole Foods and so on. So for me this is the perfect solution and I really think every Mom should give it a try! Spend your time enjoying life and doing things that make you happy! Let someone else deliver the necessities:)

Do you use any delivery services? If so which ones and how has it made your life better?


MOM HACK: SHOULD YOU CHOOSE BLUE APRON OR PLATED?! I'LL HELP YOU DECIDE!


Trying to decide between Blue Apron and Plated?

I think I can help!

I LOVE TO COOK! Ever since I discovered Pinterest about 4 years ago I have become really passionate about finding new recipes and cooking dishes I had never tried before. I also feel very strongly about raising my daughter to be an open-minded eater and be willing to try (and hopefully love!) flavors from around the world. After pinning thousands of recipes (and actually making hundreds!) I was burnt out on spending tons of money on unique spices and ingredients when I only would use them for 1 recipe. So that is when Blue Apron came into my life and I fell in love!

Then a few months ago there were a couple weeks when I wasn’t crazy about the weekly menus on Blue Apron so I decided to try Plated. Since then I have been switching between the two depending on whose menu I like better that particular week.

Now I am following and Ketogenic diet and so is my daughter so I have to skip more often because they don't have a ton of Keto friendly meals, but every once and awhile they have something that works or works with a small substitution so I still belong to both! 

Here is the breakdown:

BLUE APRON

Blue Apron or Plated? 1

Blue Apron’s box comes full of beautiful ingredients, all fresh and seasonal. It’s a little like Christmas as you start taking everything out of the box! Everything is in individual packages and are labeled. They are not divided up by recipe, so if you are like me, you look at the recipes and start organizing the ingredients so everything is grouped together and then load up your fridge. My favorite part is that you really feel like you have your life together when your fridge is stocked with fresh produce so bonus points for that haha!

Blue Apron or Plated? 4

Blue Apron meals aren’t super difficult to make, but some of them do have some pretty heavy prep. It is definitely for people who enjoy cooking. I tend to be a little messy when I cook so there have been some nights where I have 3 dirty pans, a dirty cutting board and multiple dirty utensils which can be a little much after a long day at work. But the beautiful result at the end makes up for it! One main differentiator in my opinion is that Blue Apron really seems to focus on making a gorgeous plate and provides plating tips.

I have made hundreds of Blue Apron recipes at this point (check out my Instagram page for pictures of some of my favorites!) and I would say 95% of them get two thumbs up. They do a great job of giving the home chef unique recipes, with ingredients and flavors you may not normally try out.

Blue Apron is less expensive than Plated. For 3 meals for 2 people it is $59.95 ($9.95 per serving), this includes shipping. The serving sizes are great, and all meals seem to be between 500-700 calories.

To me the biggest downside to Blue Apron is that you can’t really choose your menu each week. You do make you selections of what you eat (beef, pork, chicken, vegetarian etc…) so your menu is customized based on those preferences, however if you want to switch out 1 meal they don’t give you a lot of options.

Blue Apron or Plated 2
Blue Apron or Plated 3

One new choice they do have is WINE! You can add a monthly wine subscription that will pair with your Blue Apron meals for $65.99. I haven’t tried this service because it is a mix of red and white and I only like red, plus they are “specially sized bottles for 2”- and personally I have never had issues finishing a normal sized bottle “for 1” lol.

Overall, I love the uniqueness of the recipes and the usage of ingredients I wouldn’t typically buy or even find at a typical grocery store. Also you really do feel like a chef with the beautiful plating and planning that goes into creating these meals. For $9.95 a serving I think it is a great value, way less expensive than going out to eat and also much healthier.


PLATED

The Plated box is a little different, it still comes in one large box, but Plated has already divided up everything for you and bundles everything for the individual recipes. It definitely makes for a quicker unpacking process, but it also takes a bit of the fun out of it.

Overall I would say that the Plated meals are easier to make than Blue Apron’s. They seem to be designed to be made in one pot or pan for the most part. Most Plated meals take around 30 minutes, Blue Apron is closer to 45 minutes in my estimation.

As a trade off for taking less time and effort I have also noticed that the Plated plates do not come out nearly as pretty. The food tastes good, it just isn’t as aesthetically pleasing and for an Instagram obsessed person like myself, that matters:)

Plated is more expensive, 3 meals for 2 people is $72.00 ($12 per serving), this includes shipping. Still cheaper than eating out, but I haven’t noticed Plated’s ingredients being of a higher quality than Blue Apron’s so I am not sure why the cost is so much higher.

The biggest upside to Plated is they give you a lot of menu options! Unlike Blue Apron you can choose whatever menu combination you want which is awesome.

Blue Apron

 

They also have plus up options, which of course cost more money but for example for $8 you can add one dessert to your weekly order.


THE VERDICT

So which one should you pick? For me, I am sticking with Blue Apron 80% of the time because of their pricing, the overall quality of the food, and because their dishes are more Instagram worthy. However, when Blue Apron has combinations I am not as crazy about I will happily use Plated. In fact this week I forgot to skip one of them and received both haha- lots of cooking in this house!

My daughter, who is 11, loves these meals as much as I do. Using these services has absolutely broadened her palette. I was already exposing her to different foods in restaurants, but I love that I now do this at home. 

I really do believe these services are the way to go if you love to cook and love trying new dishes. Also I feel very strongly about cooking with all fresh and seasonal ingredients for my daughter, so this is the perfect solution for me.

Both Blue Apron and Plated offer free week trials frequently via their existing customers. I am constantly given free week trials to share with friends so if any of you would like to try either Blue Apron or Plated please leave your email in the comments and I would be happy to send you one!


Which subscription meal plans have you tried? Would love to hear your feedback! 

Happy cooking!