Tasty Eats | Delicious Banana Bread

March 31, 2015
There are so many variations of banana bread recipes out there so I figured why not add one more to the internet! I first discovered this banana bread recipe two years ago, but have made a few adjustments by using brown sugar instead of regular sugar and of course adding chocolate chips!! The best part is that you don't need a mixer for this recipe and you only need one large mixing bowl! 
Banana Bread Recipe
What You'll Need:
//3-4 ripe bananas (peeled)
//1/3 cup of melted butter 
//3/4 cup of brown sugar
// 1 egg (beaten)
// 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
// 1 1/2 cups of flour
// 1 teaspoon of baking powder
// 2-3 handfuls of chocolate chips 
Banana Bread Recipe
1. While your oven is preheating (350 degrees), spray your bread pan with non-stick spray
2. In a large mixing bowl, mash your bananas with a wooden spoon until their smooth and then add in the melted butter
3. Combine the baking soda, sugar, the egg, vanilla extract, chocolate chips and just a dash of salt. 
Banana Bread Recipe
4. Once everything is mixed well, pour into your baking pan
5. Place in oven for an hour and you should be ready to enjoy your delicious bread! 
Banana Bread Recipe
What's your favorite way to enjoy banana bread?

If you're not a fan of Banana Bread check out my post on Celebrity Wedding Hair Inspiration

Linking up with Emily & Kate

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Weekending | Getting Vacation Ready

March 30, 2015
Happy Monday everyone!! The weekend before a vacation are always the best...you know all the anticipation and everything - you just feel so productive!! We binged on a lot of Friends this weekend (that doesn't sound productive but I promise I was) since it decided to snow again...in the SPRING...we get it Mother Nature, you win! 

This weekend consisted of...

Around The City//

Thursday and Friday I was lucky enough to attend two great events in Boston! Thursday, Elizabeth Grady Spa was celebrating it's 40th anniversary. You may have seen the amazing cupcakes on Instagram, they tasted just as good as they looked!! I also won a spray tan that I totally cashed in on Sunday!! Bronzed and ready for Puerto Rico!! 
Friday after work Jackie and I made our way to Neimen Marcus to celebrate their launch of the Spring season!! Champs and fashion perfect start to the weekend!! 
After the event Gary and I made our way to The Wang Theater to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance company perform. It was both of our first times seeing the show and it was interesting, especially since after almost every single dance they had an intermission - there were about 5!! The dancers were all incredible, it was just a little different...

Getting Vacation Ready//

Saturday and Sunday was all about prep! After a quick workout (seriously that never happens on the weekend) I was able to try a new salon for a mani/pedi and it was heavenly!! All my Boston ladies try PS Nails, they give you a hot stone massage with every pedicure and a parafin wax with every manicure! I also scooped up that hat from Forever 21 that I mentioned last week! 

Watching Lately//

When I was in college this show Lipstick Jungle came out and I was obsessed - this past weekend I started re-watching the first season (on Netflix)! Sadly it was only on the air for two seasons, but it's such a fun show that follow three successful women in NYC and instead of the "concrete jungle" it's the lipstick jungle!! We also watched A Walk Among the Tombstones with Liam Neeson! It's a true Liam movie and pretty good, a little departure from the Taken series, but good! 
Then just like that it's Monday!! Starting the week on an upbeat note and hoping the next two days fly by!! 

Hope you all have a wonderful start to your week and link up below to share your weekends with us!
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Friday Favorites Round Up

March 27, 2015
This week flew by, mostly because it was jam packed, but I'm not complaining! I'm linking up with Amanda and Liz to share some of my favorites floating around the internet this week!! 

Favorite Recipe

As it gets warmer here I start thinking about meals that include "warmer" weather ingredients like avocados and salsa!! This Grilled Chicken Soft Tacos recipe looks delicious! 

Favorite Tutorial

I have been all about trying to take better photos not only for the blog but for Instagram too! I've been searching for tutorials and really like this one from Thirteen Thoughts! Her photos are just gorgeous! 

Favorite Outfit

I've been reading Sequins & Things for quite some time and always love when I see a fellow Jacksonville girl blogging! I love Haley's outfits and love all the pastel hues of this one! 

Favorite Quote

I think after featuring Adrienne as this month's B~Inspired Gal, I'm full of excitement and anticipation and this quote pretty much sums it all up in a nutshell! 

Favorite Links

//35 Beauty Superstars under the age of 35
//The complete Lily for Target collection was seen this week
//Home Goods had three bloggers style their perfect offices - swoon worthy for sure
// In case you missed it - I shared 6 must have beauty items on Wedding Party

I definitely need to get my packing done this weekend and few other things to get ready for a trip next week!! I'll see you back here Monday for Weekending and hope you have a great weekend!

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Beach Vacation Essentials

March 26, 2015
With my upcoming vacation I've come to the realization that I haven't been on a beach vacation since my honeymoon...two years ago!! That's not to say I haven't been to the beach in two years, it's more so I haven't gone away to the beach in that amount of time, so I thought I'd round up a few of my must have beach vacation essentials! 

I actually have two beach totes, but the one I'm taking on vacation needed to be compact so it's very similar to this canvas tote. I also have this Target one that I've used for the past five years  - it's perfect! Before I even hit the beach, I need to do something about my body being so white - I blame the New England winter! I picked up this Jergen's Natural Glow and I'm going to do a test this weekend to make sure I don't look scary! Of course I need my magazines so my iPad mini is coming with me as are my new sunnies from Nordstrom...you know the $12 ones!!! 

I like to keep a water bottle with me because I don't really want to dish out cash for bottled water while on vacation! Also needed is a little pouch to keep my hotel key, phone and ChapStick clear from the sand! Gary basically has the best fedora ever which he actually bought in Puerto Rico, so if I don't snatch this one up before I leave, I have to get an authentic one there!! 

Shop the post:

What are your beach vacation essentials? What am I forgetting?

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B~Inspired | Adrienne Dorison

March 25, 2015
I am so excited to be sharing yet another fabulous and truly inspirational woman, who I'm lucky enough to call a friend, Adrienne Dorison! By day she works her 9-5 gig, but her true passion is what has fueled her new en-devour and what I'm sure will become her full-time business here shortly! She turned a brief stint in blogging into a full fledged business helping women find their niche market area and then growing their own business!! 
Name: Adrienne Dorison
Age: 29 as of last week!! 
Job/Title: I've got two...Supply Chain Analyst/Project Management for a Large Fortune 500 Paper company 
Dream Job/Side Gig: Business Coach to Fulfillment Seekers
City: Prattville, AL

Your day job is intense, to say the least, how did you decide that starting your own business was what you wanted to do?

Yes, you're right, my day job is intense, it's also sort of suffocating if I'm being completely honest - which is the only way to be in my opinion. I have a lot of responsibility at the day job, I am a high performer and I'm completely unfulfilled. The work I do there is not filling my soul's purpose. I knew I had a bigger calling on my life, a calling to serve others, and while I was doing a great job at the corporate gig, it wasn't my real dream. There was sort of a moment where I said...why the heck would I work my tail off for someone else's dream, when I actually have my own?!
The side business started off very organically just as a blog to help re-spark that creativity muscle inside of me that was being suffocated at work. People were connecting to the blog in a big way and that's when it hit me, I want to do this in an even bigger way on a more personal level - and that's where the business began!
You describe yourself as being a dream Catalyst & Strategist...can you explain what that means?

I know that everyone out there has a dream in their heart. They are sitting at their desk job daydreaming about what they REALLY want to do be doing with their lives. That's where I come in. I help women transform that dream into their reality. We work closely together to create the change in their life that they're yearning for.

Strategist because there needs to be plan. I give women the tools and the real actionable plan that they need to actually make those dreams come true. In theory, dreams are fabulous, but I am all about the doing! I use real business & marketing strategy to create a step-by-step process for each of my clients, so that they can make their dreams come true! And not just daydream about them! 

I can't imagine there being anything more rewarding that helping other women achieve their goals like you have, what inspired you to start this journey?

It's seriously the best. It fires me up to see these women getting exactly what they've always wanted, but didn't know how to get it. The inspiration honestly stemmed from frustration at my own day job. I had sort of an ah-ha moment during my annual review. I was told that "exceeds expectations" was only available for one employee on the team each year, and they just rotate it each year. It had nothing to do with merit, and I knew it didn't really matter how hard I worked. I wasn't interested in that model.

I knew in my heart I had something bigger inside of me, and the more I looked around at my company, the more I realized what I wanted for my life was not there. We can get wrapped up in climbing the corporate ladder, but I realized I was climbing the wrong ladder, my ladder was on a completely different wall. I had to give myself permission to follow my dreams. 

I compare it to being in a toxic dating relationship...it may be scary to leave, but if you're unhappy or even miserable, you need to day goodbye. Because as scary as it is to leave the comfort, if you stay you're saying NO to every positive and healthy relationship that could potentially come into your life! 

It's about saying YES to yourself and your dreams, and saying NO to the thing you really don't want anymore anyway.
What's a typical day like for you being a 9-5(er) and also building your brand?

It can be busy, but I've made a conscious effort to slim down and do less during this season of my life. I typically wake up and meditate first, and then engage with some of my clients and in my facebook group. Then head off to the day job! Sometimes I take client calls during my lunch break, or write a blog post etc, but sometimes I just eat - totally depends on my energy levels! 

After work I head to the gym and take a bootcamp or spin class with my workout buddies, I also teach classes some days! I head home after that and eat dinner with my boyfriend. He has been so helpful and supportive ever since I started the business, he cooks so that I have time to get to work or take client calls. He has no idea how important he is to actually keeping my business running, just by taking off some of the household pressures! I usually take a couple client calls in the evening and work on any other business critical tasks! I try to hit the sack around 10 and do it all over again the next day! This is a busy season of my life, and seeing it for the season that it is helps to keep me motivated. I know once I quit the day job, I will have less crazy days!
What is your advice to anyone that has toyed with the idea of starting their own side business that they one day hope to grow into a full-time job?

You must know what is important to grow the business versus what is just keeping you busy. The idea is to really streamline during this time when you've got a lot going on at one time. You also need to stay in your own lane. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and comparing yourselves to them, you are not them, you are you and that's even better!

What has been your most inspired moment?

Definitely seeing my first clients get their first clients! It's so inspiring to see their hard work pay off, they are making their own dreams come true and there is nothing more magical than that! 
If you could have dinner with any woman in the world who would it be?

Right now it's got to be Marie Forleo. Not only is she killing it in the coaching industry, but she's hilarious like me, so I know it would be an entertaining dinner! 

What three things do you never leave the house without?

My phone (eeek trying to be less attached to this thing), water - trying to drink more during the day, so I keep a bottle with me wherever I go, my planner - it keeps my entire life in order, and I'm old school and like to have a physical one so I can write things down.

Is there one book you would suggest reading for women that are interested in becoming their own boss?

Abundance by  Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler. While this isn't a book that will give you the step-by-step guide to starting your own business, it will transform your mindset which is the most important piece to becoming an entrepreneur! Especially if you're currently thinking in scarcity mindset - "I won't be able to make enough money, etc..." Read this now!
Do you have a favorite app or website that helps you with time management or effectively managing your time?

YES! I live for 30/30 app for task management and I keep my to-do's straight on to-do list! 

Huge thank you to Adrienne for being part of this little series! As someone that has just recently started her own business, I'm taking serious notes from what Adrienne had to say!! If you want to ask Adrienne anything her contact information can be found here

You may have also seen some of my favorite inspirational quotes spread throughout the post - do you have a quote you like to live by?

P.S. I'm also over at Wedding Party today dishing about 6 essential beauty products!! 

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Tom Yum-Style Shrimp & Noodles | Blue Apron

March 24, 2015
Cooking With Blue Apron
I first posted about my experience with Blue Apron back in January and Sunday night I made one of the most ambitious meals ever and honestly if it wasn't for them, I don't think I would have tried to make it! I don't normally eat Thai food nor would I think to try to make it! After following the recipe, I realized it actually wasn't that hard and couldn't wait to share with you! 
Cooking With Blue Apron

What You'll Need: 

+ 8 ounces of shrimp
+ 1 pound tom yum noodles
+ 1/2 cup coconut milk powder
+ 2 garlic cloves
+ 1 bunch Gai Lan - this is like a leafy spinach
+ 1 lime
+ 1 bunch cilantro
+ 1 bunch basil
+ 2 tablespoons of tom yum paste 
+ 1 inch piece of ginger
+ 1/3 cup of peanuts
The benefits of attempting this type of meal with the Blue Apron service is that these harder to find ingredients are already included and you can really taste the freshness in each meal. 
Cooking With Blue Apron
1. After you have washed and chopped your fresh produce put off to the side - make sure the Gai Lan ends are chopped off. 
2. Heat a large pot of water so that it starts boiling
3. In a medium bowl stir the coconut milk powder with 1/2 a cup of water until smooth
4. In a large pan heat 2 teaspoons of oil and add the garlic and ginger for about 1 minute - until you start to smell the aromas
5. Add in the gain lan, half the basil and 2 tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper! About 2-4 minutes! 
Cooking With Blue Apron
6. Once the water has boiled, place the noodles to cook for about 4 minutes...you want them to be a little firm to the bite - transfer them to the pan once done
7. Add the shrimp, coconut milk powder mixture, 1/2 a cup of water all together into the pan
8. Cook until the shrimp is thoroughly cooked - once done remove from heat and stir in the juice of two lime wedges! 
Cooking With Blue Apron
Garnish with cilantro, peanuts and the other two halves of the lime wedges. All that's left to do is enjoy! 
Cooking With Blue Apron
This recipe took about 30 minutes including prep time to make, as is the case for almost all Blue Apron meals and was under 600 calories! I'm already looking forward to the lamb meatball stew and blackened cod that's on their menu this week! 

To find out if Blue Apron delivers to your city just click here! If you're interested in trying Blue Apron the first 25 readers will get two free meals!!!

How ambitious do you like to be with your cooking? Are you a fan of Thai food?
Linking up with Emily & Kate
Thank you to Blue Apron for Sponsoring this post! 
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Weekending | An Anniversary & A Giveaway

March 23, 2015
Happy Monday all!! Before getting into the weekend recap I first want to say Happy Anniversary to my husband!! Two years ago I was lucky enough to marry my best friend!! He's my partner in life and my absolute perfect match...even if our tastes in TV shows could not be more different! 
I love you more than words can ever express...Cheers to the next 60+ years together!! At the risk of getting too mushy I'll just leave it at that and get into my weekend!  

This weekend was a blur, but it was so much fun! We had plans Friday night to hang out with some of our friends and have dinner! Sadly, the restaurant we wanted to go to was crazy packed so we opted for Boston Beer Works which was fine, but no Yard House!! It was also the first day of Spring, but clearly Boston didn't get the memo since we were all so bundled up! 
Saturday was a jam packed with shopping! My friend Jackie and I spent our day perusing the mall and buying things I totally didn't need...like these new Kate Spade sunnies. They were just too pretty and on sale...sometimes you just have to! Also, cat eye is my new favorite thing! 
That night we met up with our guys and went to Legal Sea Foods to celebrate the official launch of our company. It's been about six months in the making, but Bespoke Boston Weddings is our little baby! The website is still under construction, but with our first joint event a little over a month away, it was time to go live!! 
This year Gary and I opted to do a brunch for our anniversary instead of dinner tonight. It's always more hectic during the week and we really wanted to enjoy the day! 
I was beyond impressed with the brunch at Bostonia Public House...live band, great atmosphere and the food was incredible! 
We feasted on bourbon glazed sweet potato donuts, sunny side up tater tots, a crab fritta and the cutest little macaroon! Seriously, one of the best brunches ever and they even had lobster mac and cheese...so that just means I have to go back!  
Blue Apron Meal
We ended our weekend with this bad boy! Teaser Alert: Stay tuned because this amazing recipe is coming to the blog tomorrow!! 

And now for some Monday fun - Giveaway Time...
You may not have known this, but when I first moved to Boston I was a Stella & Dot Stylist! There weren't too many people familiar with their jewelry but all of their pieces were always so well constructed and the service was amazing! 
I have been wearing these two gorgeous sets of earrings on repeat and have my eye on so many more baubles!! Katie from Cabernet & Chaos is a stylist and is giving away a $40 credit to anything of your choice from Stella & Dot! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just like that it's back to Monday!! Hope you all have a wonderful start your week and link up below to share your weekends!! 

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Friday Favorites | It's Officially Spring

March 20, 2015
Happy Friday!! It's been quite the week and I'm so happy that today is officially the start of Spring, even though Mother Nature has a funny way of showing it with some snow flurries later tonight! I've already spent far too much time chatting about weather this year, so let's get right to my favorites! Linking up with Amanda and Liz

Favorite Outfit

Tell me this doesn't just scream spring to you!! Mint, floral and bright! 

Favorite Recipe

I have a confession to make...anytime a restaurant has lobster mac & cheese on the menu I need to have it! Do I always order no...but if I could make it at home and know exactly what I was putting in I would feel less guilty eating it!!

Favorite New App

So last week it was Wunderlist and this week it's Next Issue! Thankfully my friend Stephanie introduced me to this app that allows you to view monthly or weekly magazines on your ipad without having to subscribe to all of them! The way it works...your first month is free and then after that you pay $9.99 for monthly magazines (Self, Instyle, etc) or $14.99 which includes the monthlies + weekly mags (US Weekly, People, etc). I think it's brilliant and I'm hooked! It's perfect for the gym, travelling and even sitting on the couch...there are so many features you have with the digital versions that you don't have in the print!  You can also share it with up to 5 different devices! 

Favorite New Shop

My friend Claire over at Fashion and Feathers embarked on a new journey recently and started her very own Etsy Shop!! She is offering B~Loved Boston readers a discount for one week with the code BLOVEDBOSTON10 for any items featured in The Studio. The gold foil is so pretty and I can't wait to re-do our little office space to get the #DoWork sign hung! 

Favorite Links

//6 office ready hairstyle to try 
// A gorgeous Napa wedding featured on Style Me Pretty #weddingobsessed
// Things we should all know about investing
// A swoon-worthy NYC home tour
That's a wrap for this week! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! 

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