FOUND! My new best Donut Friend (Los Angeles)

I love donuts but not all donuts. I’m particular with the taste, texture, flavor and toppings of donuts so a regular store bought or gas station donut doesn’t do it for me. I’m more into gourmet donuts if I’m going to consume that many calories. We’ve had a lot of delicious donuts in the various cities we’ve lived in or travelled to like Voodoo Donut and Blue Star Donut in Portland, Round Rock Donut outside of Austin, Gourdoughs’ in Austin and recently The Donut Man (LA). This last weekend we drove out to Highland Park (which is near Pasadena) based on a few recommendations to try Donut Friend. It is absolutely amazing and here’s why Donut Friend is my new top donut:

  • Taste – the dough was delicious and soft with a nice consistency.
  • Flavors – they have so many types of donuts, plus you can create your own with various fillings and toppings! Donut Friend was started by a music producer and a lot of the flavors are puns on band names. Check out their amazing menu!
  • Texture – the donuts were the perfect amount of dense and light. I also loved that the glaze wasn’t overly sweet or sticky. Like you could eat a donut and it wouldn’t leave glaze all over your fingers.
  • Unique – they have a lot of donut ‘sandwiches’ for example, a glaze donut cut in half with a cream or custard layer and then topped with glaze (vanilla, lemon, strawberry) or chocolate and then toppings.
  • Happiness – we had heard a lot about Donut Friend and read tons of positive reviews. The shop is small but everyone was so happy and the employees with fast and friendly. They also have an option to buy online and pick up later. This is especially key for me because nothings more disappointing than driving an hour to have your favorite donut sold out, ha, ha! So in the afternoon I bought online two apple fritters to pick up in the evening.

In addition to the apple fritter (which is called “Fritter Seems Forever”!) I also tried the Strawberry Lab which is a glaze donut cut in half, a layer of whipped cream and sliced strawberries, similar to a strawberry shortcake but with a delicious donut. Dave and the kids tried a few kinds including a peanut butter and jelly donut, butterfinger and some custard filled donuts. They also have a donut sundae called “Taking back Sundae” that I need to try!

strawberrylab donut friend LA

Donut Friend LA

donut friend apple fritter

Here is an interview with Mark Trombino, the former pop punk producer and founder of Donut Friend.

mark trombino donut friend

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

Most of our 10 years of marriage we’ve lived in places with snow in the winter. Now that we’re back in CA, I don’t miss the snow at all! Ok, not completely true – I love looking at the snow from inside a warm house, ha, ha! I’m loving these snowy pictures from Blair:

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Ways to safely keep guns in a home. This is something I feel so strongly about! I hate reading stories of kids accidentally finding loaded guns in someone’s house and shooting and often killing another child. I hate it because it makes me incredibly sad and most of those ‘accidents’ can be prevented.

A few simple ways to be more happy 🙂

 

Foam Roller: A free massage and my favorite way to relieve sore muscles

One of the most effective ways I love to relieve sore muscles is foam rolling! If I’m super sore I’ll apply peppermint oil and use a foam roller before I go to bed. The pressure from the roller relaxes the muscle fibers and muscle tightness. I love to use mine primarily on my hamstrings but also quadriceps, glutes, back, IT band and calves.  You gently roll the part of your body on the roller (slowly and not staying in one spot for more than 20 seconds). It’s basically a free massage for your muscles that you can do anytime!

I got mine years ago from Amazon and they also sell longer ones. Most gyms and studios will have foam rollers and they are so effective for sore, tired muscles and for warming up and cooling down. I use mine basically every week and especially during periods when I’m running, cycling and playing soccer.

foam rolling sore muscle relief

calf ^

foam rolling sore muscle relief

hamstring ^

foam rolling sore muscle relief

glutes/lower back

5 Favorite Winter Essentials for Dry Skin

Even though Southern California isn’t the driest of winter airs, we’ve lived in some low humidity cities where winter is really harsh on your skin (especially when we lived in Utah!) I feel like my skin is naturally dry but I’ve found a few things that definitely help my skin and overall health in dry weather. Here are my top 5 winter essentials:

winter essentials for dry skin

  1.  Humidifier– We actually have 2 of this same humidifier! I use one in my room in the winter (or if I’m sick) and we’ll use the second one in the kids’ bedrooms if they get sick. I feel like I can breathe better at night and feel more rested in the morning. I like this one because it’s small, the cord is a good length (it’s about 5 feet long), it’s easy to fill and clean and you can adjust the level of humidity.
  2. Gold Bond Rough & Bumpy lotion – this lotion is awesome. It’s made for skin that is extra dry and I use it daily on my upper arms which for some reason are more dry than the rest of my skin. I saw good results in the first week of using it! My skin is much less bumpy and dry.
  3.  Saline salt nasal spray – this helps with dry nasal membranes. It’s not by prescription, non habit-forming and great to use for nasal congestion. It’s not medicated and easy to spray in your nose. It also doesn’t taste weird like how some medicated nasal sprays can drip into your throat. I buy this at any grocery or drug store and it’s only a few dollars.
  4.  Vicks Vaporub –  I’ve written about this product before and how great it is for a sore throat! There are actually lots of uses for Vicks Rub but my primary use is if I feel a sore throat coming, I’ll rub it on (the outside) of my throat before going to bed. It doesn’t cure an illness but alleviates the symptoms.
  5.  Hydro Flask– I’ve also talked a lot about this bottle because it’s honestly one of my favorite things to have cold water all day! I especially love this bottle because it doesn’t collect condensation so I can bring it in a bag and not worry about other items getting wet. I have the wide mouth spout version which I prefer, they make a variety of sizes and mouth openings. Hydration is super important all the time but especially in the winter and can help with dry skin, illness, etc.

*related: 7 Ways to Fight a Cold , more on my Hydro Flask love

*semi related: follow along via Bloglovin’

Peppermint Oil: quick relief for sore muscles, stomach ache, cramps

Peppermint oil is an awesome aid applied topically for tight or sore muscles, stomach aches, cramps, headaches, etc. It’s also super useful for clearing a congested or stuffy nose. Even just smelling a little peppermint can help clear your nasal passageways and feel invigorated and alert. I love that it’s energizing, refreshing, relaxing and makes sore muscles feel cool and a little tingly (think similar to Tiger Balm but less sticky to apply)

I buy mine from any drug store (CVS, Walgreens) in a roller form. This means the oil is already diluted and ready to apply to skin (not ingested!) I know there are many other forms to buy oil and ways to use it (like mixing it with other oils, a room diffuser, etc) but for me this is the easiest and least complicated way to use it. 99% of the time I only use it for sore muscles after exercising and I love that it’s soothing and invigorating. The one I usually buy is similar to this one from Amazon and the price is comparable.

peppermint oil sore muscle relief

If you’re interested in reading more, here’s an article I found that seems thorough and neutral 😉

Read the Top 10  benefits of peppermint tea

Note: I never use peppermint oil on the kids even though there are ways oils can be used on children.

 

Fitbit Review

Around Black Friday last fall, Dave and I both got the Fitbit Alta. There’s tons of fitness trackers out there today and we got them I guess mainly because of their popularity and they seem to function well. I love that it’s lightweight. I wasn’t sure how well I would like wearing it all the time but I wear it basically all the time except in the shower or doing dishes. It has a sleep tracker that shows you how well you slept, how many times you woke during the night, periods of restlessness, etc. We also like this model because it sends texts alerts.

I feel like overall it does help you to move and walk more. I haven’t been running much since my achilles injury last summer but I’ll usually hit my step goal during our nightly walk.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Long lasting battery – the battery lasts 3-4 days before it needs to be charged
  • Alerts – text alerts and it can be programmed to send hourly alerts to remind you to get up and walk.
  • Easy to use – with the smartphone app, it’s very easy to set up, check your progress, and sync your Fitbit to your device.
  • Fair price
  • Durable – it’s only been a few months but we haven’t had any technically issues with our Fitbits. Their website says you can actually wear it in the shower and when it’s raining.
  • Interchangeable bands – you can buy other color bands or if yours gets gross from sweat, etc

Cons:

  • The Alta model doesn’t rack heart rate. They have a model that does and if I were to do it again I would get the Fitbit Charge which does track heart rate. It’s more expensive than the Alta which is originally why we didn’t get it.
  • Doesn’t track activity like cycling. I do a spin class twice a week and it’s technically logged and 0 steps and 0 ‘active minutes’. You can go in on the app and manually log in active minutes (ie. exercises like cycling, yoga, etc).

Bottom Line:

I would recommend the Fitbit! Even though I exercise 6 days a week it’s always nice to move around more and have goals. Like I said, they do have like 5 different types from the most basic step counter to a fully functional heart rate monitor. I would suggest finding the model that fits your needs and then looking for a good price. We got ours at a Black Friday price but I know they periodically have sales on Amazon. We’ve used Camel Camel Camel in the past which is an Amazon price tracker for whatever product you’re looking for and it’ll send you emails when a low price hits.

fitbit alta

fitbit alta

fitbit alta

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

We used to go to Olive garden a ton before we had kids. I feel like their quality has not been the same in the last few years. One of my favorite items (besides the lemon cake they used to have on their dessert menu) is their Zuppa Toscana soup. I recently found this recipe and looking forward to trying it.

Love these words about being yourself.

Recently bought this vitamin C facial toner that is supposed to hydrate, brighten and reduce pore size. I bought it based on reviews it received on Amazon. I’ve been using witch hazel for years but have felt my skin becoming more ‘dull’ with age. After a week of using 1-2 times daily, I obviously haven’t seen huge results yet, but I have felt that my skin has been more hydrated and supple. The toner hasn’t had any negative effects like over drying, breaking out, etc. I’ll keep you updated on more results!

 

 

Triple Birthday

This year, we planned two birthday surprises for the kids. Tessa’s birthday is 3 days before my and Brent’s birthday and it’s always  a fun and busy time celebrating! Our kids have never been to Disneyland and now that we live so close we figured it would be a great opportunity to go. We spend most of the day in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland but also went to Pirates of the Caribbean and to get Dole Whips 🙂 Brent’s favorite ride was Star Tours and Tessa’s was the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. It was so fun to see them experience all the magic for the first time and we hope we can go back more!

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That same week, we went to a Monster Truck Jam (racing event) at Angel Stadium. I saw it on a Listserv for local moms and immediately knew Brent would love it! He has loved cars and trucks for a while, we have about 500 Hot Wheels cars around the house 😉 and recently has been loving the monster trucks also made by Hot Wheels that are modeled after the actual trucks that race in these events. He was so excited when the trucks drove out and he recognized some from his toys! The stadium was packed and it was a fun experience for all of us, and also nice that we are close to Anaheim.

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Health tip

Like most people, I make a health related goal at the beginning of every year.  How are yours coming along? I feel like most people are super motivated in January and sometimes that motivation fades as the year goes on. To help all of us achieve our health goals this year, I will post a small health tip every month to hopefully boost that motivation level. All the tips will be practical and simple. I’m not into fad diets or drastic measures that promise quick results (because they usually don’t last). My philosophy is more about consistency and challenge. Some tips won’t necessarily focus on just physical health as over wellness includes mental, social, emotional and spiritual health. Here is February’s health tip:

health tips and motivation, lose weight, be healthy

When I’m done working out, one of the first things I want to do it eat! It’s easy to eat snacks or even junk but try to fill up with good, whole foods. When you burn calories exercising, you need to replace those calories. Don’t let your body store junk food calories or it’ll take longer to progress. I’ve listed some of my favorite, easy post workout snacks and I also like these protein bites you can make before hand.