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Eating My Way Around CT: Micalizzi of Milford Opens

Now that summertime is around the corner, ice cream is definitely on my brain. Therefore, it’s a good thing that the Micalizzi location in downtown Milford had opened this past weekend. Micalizzi is an ice cream and Italian ice place. This is the second location of Micalizzi, as the first is located in Bridgeport.

There are a lot of options on the Micalizzi menu in both locations. You can get several flavors of Italian ice, hard and soft ice cream, cookies, and more. You can also get their famous “American Beauty,” which is a combination of their soft serve ice cream and Italian ice. You can also get ice cream sandwiches built with cookies and ice cream.

Yum. All of these options sound so refreshing on a hot day.

I had the opportunity to try their Italian ice at their grand opening, and wow, I was impressed. Having grown up near Libby’s Italian ice in Downtown New Haven, it’s difficult to impress me with great Italian ice. However, this one is a close second. I had their rainbow flavored one and it was so fresh and delicious.

One thing that I really loved about this place was the amount of the dairy free options. Being lactose intolerant, it’s difficult to find ice cream places that have dairy-free choices. This is great, because sometimes there are less dairy free options at ice cream places.

While I never had the opportunity to check out their Bridgeport location, I am already loving Micalizzi’s in their Milford one. I can already tell that it would be my new favorite place this summer.

Be sure to check out Micalizzi’s social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. To view their complete menu, please go here.

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Friday Faves: May 28

TGIF everyone! This Friday is especially exciting because it is Memorial Day weekend, and that means it’s a three day weekend. For me, this is especially exciting because I took an extra day off to make it a four day weekend. I am looking forward to getting a lot of reading done, and knocking a few books off of my TBR pile.

That said, I am so excited to share this week’s favorites. They are random, and I am perfectly okay with that.

Sydney Cummings Workouts: I discovered a new workout everyone – no offense to the Peloton app. Sydney Cummings has a variety of HIIT workouts, which I love. I love her workouts because they are challenging, but they are also fun. I’ve mentioned in previous posts about my distain for Jillian Micheals’ workouts, which has turned me off of HIIT completely. That said, I love her positive attitude, as it focuses on gaining strength versus losing weight. Her workouts are challenging, don’t get me wrong, but I love that I feel more empowered when I do them, versus ashamed that I am unable to do anything or feel like I am losing enough weight. I still am challenged, but I really love it.

Too Hot to Handle: I found another Netflix show that I am obsessed with, which is Too Hot to Handle. I binge watched this show this past week. It is about young singles that are looking for a meaningful connection. They are challenged to form these connections by simply not touching whatsoever. If they do, then they lose the $100,000 prize. It was a mindless show, but I really enjoyed it.

Dagne Dover Landon Crossbody XS Small: I recently used some Nordstrom Notes to grab the black (onyx) version and I have been loving it. I have been getting a lot of use of this simply by using it as a work purse. It is also lightweight, and easy to clean.

Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze podcasts: As many of you know, I have been trying to learn how to change my habits to become less of a spender and more of a saver. Listening to their podcasts have been really motivating for me to focus on my future versus the present. Therefore, I am enjoying listening to them because it’s inspired me to do better than I did when it comes to money.

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Emergency Fund 101: Why You Need It

About three months ago, I hit a tree during a snow storm. Thankfully, I was able to walk away without getting hurt or injured. However, my car was deemed undrivable with damage to my fender and suspension. This was not planned whatsoever. However, I took a breath of relief as I knew that I had the funds in a savings account to cover the cost of my rental, deductible and other expenses

Thankfully, I have begun saving since I started my full time job for an emergency fund. Now, you may be asking, what exactly is an emergency fund? Well, an emergency fund is something that urgent that comes up that is unplanned.

So what is an emergency? Here are a few examples of when you would need cash fast:

1. You lost your job, and you need to pay bills.

2. Your car breaks down.

3. You are having any kind of home repair that came up unexpected.

4. There is a death in the family and you need to travel/deal with it fast.

Dave Ramsey teaches those who follow him to save at least three to six months of expenses saved. And, I agree to that to some extent. It’s really assuring to have that money set aside for things when your car isn’t starting and it’s on its way to the mechanic again so you don’t have to worry about having to come up with more money or use a credit card. He recommends keeping this money out of your checking but is easily accessible (i.e. savings/money market account).

This was one of the most expensive money lessons that I had to learn the hard way. About three years ago, I had a flat tire from running over a curb. The price? $375. At that time, I did not have that saved, and I had to ask my mom for help fixing it. Since then, I learned that I need to start putting aside cash for those moments, because believe me, they do happen.

That said, here are some ways that you can build an emergency fund:

  • Sell items on Poshmark
  • Put aside a percentage of your check everytime.
  • Get a side hustle.
  • Cut expenses as much as possible.

I have been actively saving for emergencies, even though I am way over that $1,000 threshold. That said, even though I had that amount saved and I paid cash for all of the repairs done on my car with the accident, it still stung having to get that amount taken out. I felt discouraged, almost as if I did something wrong instead of thanking myself for thinking that far ahead.

It took me a moment to realize that sometimes, life happens and we have expenses that are not planned. That is why it’s important to save for them. I am currently working to get my savings account to where it used to be, and that is going to take time. In the mean time, I can do my best to continue to grow my emergency fund as much as possible.

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Friday Faves: May 21, 2021

TGIF everyone! It has been a long week (which is why this is my first post of the week), and I just can’t wait for the weekend! I was debating on not posting for the week, but I still wanted to include a list of this week’s favorites for everyone. They are a bit random, but still worth sharing nonetheless. So without further adue, here are this week’s favorites;

Love Your Life Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze: Rachel Cruze is Dave Ramsey’s daughter, and she is staying in the family business of helping people manage their finances. I read her other book recently and decided to give this one a listen because your girl is struggling with budgeting. By listening to more educational things, it has helped me learned more about how to save. Definitely important. That said, I have been listening to this a lot and this is a lot easier to digest than you would think. I definitely recommend.

Dooney and Bourke Pebble Leather Crossbody: This was actually a replacement purchase as I had two versions of this Dooney and Bourke bag. I am so happy I sold those and got this. It is a crossbody but it holds everything I need, including my wallet, keys, Kindle and more. What I really love about it this is that it’s slowly helping me avoid taking my tote to work, which I really like. I have been taking this to work, but I also can see myself using this for traveling, errands and so much more.

Beautiful Girl You Can Do Hard Things Mantraband: I have had this in my closet for a while and I love this. It has been giving me motivation to challenge myself and reminds me that I am a strong woman. I wear this with other Mantrabands, beaded bracelets, and other bangles. I highly recommend Mantraband bracelets, as I’ve had some for over four years and they look like the day I got them.

Pop Sonic Spade Cleansing and Exfoliating Device: I purchased this to help me cleanse my skin better. And I love it. I scored it on sale at QVC and have been using it every day since. It’s great to remove all of the makeup I use and it also helps keep my skin clean. I use Trader Joe’s TeaTree Facial soap and I’ve been really happy with the results.

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Friday Faves: May 14, 2021

TGIF everyone! I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to the weekend as it has been a week. I have so many different favorites to share this week that I don’t even know where to begin. So, without further a due, here are this week’s favorites:

Calm Stone Kit: I have been dealing with severe anxiety, and so I decided to grab this. In fact, my amethyst stone is currently in my car’s glove compartment, which is at the car dealership currently. It came with both amethyst and clear quartz, and I am so happy that I got them. I highly recommend getting these if you’re dealing with anxiety, because not only is it cheap ($10 for two stones), and are compact enough to fit into my bag.

Rainbow Ring: I have fallen in love with this ring the second I saw it and knew that I had to have it. I have not taken this ring off since the second that I got it. I wear it on my thumb and I love the look on it. It also serves as a reminder that brighter days are ahead, which I really love. You can not find it online, but you can get it on the Tickled Pink app.

Cruel Summer: Yes, I found another TV show that I love. It takes place in the 90’s and is about a girl who goes missing and another girl who takes her place. It’s so addicting, and I binge watched four episodes in one sitting. It is on FreeForm, and then on Hulu as well.

Birthday Cake Lip Licking Balm: I purchased this from Tickled Pink a few weeks ago and I really love this lip balm because it smells and tastes good. It also doesn’t stick, which is really good as well. The product was inexpensive, which is also a plus. In addition to Birthday Cake, Tickled Pink has so many other flavors to choose from such as Cotton Candy and Watermelon.

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4 More Things I Have Been Doing to Save More Money

One thing that I have been doing a lot more is saving money and doing whatever I could to increase how much savings I have. I’ve written a few posts about this (such as this one last month, but I wanted to write another post with more tips in case you’re looking to save some money.

Return Things: During COVID, I get why this would be challenging because you couldn’t return things for a certain period of time. Because of that, I got into the habit of not returning things that didn’t fit properly, and things that I was not impressed with after seeing them in person. So, not only am I wasting money on things that don’t fit, I have more clutter in my home than I actually need. What I’ve done since is sell items that I haven’t been using, but in the future I am working to just return them versus holding onto something that I don’t love or doesn’t fit right.

Watching Less YouTube: I love watching YouTube videos, because I feel like I gain so much information, and in terms of BookTube, I learn about so many books that I otherwise would not know about. However, sometimes it can be bad for my wallet because I am influenced to buy items that may not work for me. Therefore, I’ve been cutting back on the YouTube and replaced them with TV shows. I still support all of the YouTubers that I love and love to learn of new ones, but I want to consume less content that makes me want to purchase things that I don’t need.

Do Other Things Than Shopping: Shopping is important when you need to get something. However, my boyfriend and I would go to the mall just for a day out. That said, I’ve been working on filling my time with other things such as hiking, relaxing, and just watching movies. In the summer, I am sure that I will be at the pool or the beach. And, it’s so much fun to just spend time with my boyfriend and dog.

Learning What Works For Me (and What Doesn’t): I think this past year, I am learning what types of clothing styles and jewelry really works for me. I am also learning what does not. Why it doesn’t always work out, I am monitoring what I wear and don’t, so I don’t purchase more.

What have you been doing to save? Let me know in the comments below.

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Learning to Look Forward

One of the hardest things that I continue to struggle with is giving myself the credit I deserve and giving myself the pat on the back for the progress I’ve made. Instead, I dwell on the fact that I am not where I want to be.

I recently was in this phase. As many of you know, I am in the process of learning to save money, lose weight, and declutter. I am not going to become a minimalist, nor do I believe that I ever will become one. But, I have learned to budget and increased my savings dramatically then I have in years prior. I’m working out and building muscle, and starting to see improvements in my endurance and my health.

But, what am I doing instead of applauding myself? I’m looking at everything that I’ve done wrong because I’m not where I want to be. I am hard on myself for everything that I have yet to learn than everything that I have learned.

There is a saying that says progress over perfection, and that is something that I am learning that I need to focus on more and more. Why is that we focus on the things we didn’t do and the things that we did wrong versus the baby steps and progress in the right direction?

Maybe it’s the way that we are programmed. Maybe it’s the content consumed on social media — you know when you see someone who is doing that much better than you, or someone who seems to have it all together.

So, why can’t I change it?

The answer is that it was something programmed in me — whether it’s something attributed to nature to something attributed to nurture. And, when something is programmed in me, it can take a while for me to develop a new mindset.

And, that’s ok. But, in this process of learning to love and accept myself, I am learning to celebrate my wins and celebrate the things I did do versus didn’t. I am learning to forgive myself for the things I didn’t know, and to give myself the love that I need to grow into the person I want to be.

I am learning to look forward.

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Friday Faves: May 7, 2021

TGIF everyone! I am so excited to share this week’s favorites, which in reality is two television shows that I decided to start two shows at the same time, while already binge watching two other shows. So, yeah I have been watching a lot of TV shows, and that’s perfectly fine.

Other than that, I hope to have a relaxing weekend binging more of these shows and hopefully start some new ones, because your girl is good at starting shows but not finishing them. That said, here are some of my favorites for the week.

Firefly Lane: I finally started this show, everyone! If you don’t know, I read this book last month and really enjoyed it, so I couldn’t wait to watch the series. Let me tell you — the show is so different than the book. I must admit that I did not read the second one yet, but I already can see the differences. That said, the show is pretty good, and I am hoping that they come out with a second season.

The Mandalorian: Finally, I began the Mandalorian and I am so happy that I did. Yes I only watched two episodes but I already know I will be binging it throughout the weekend.

Our Lips Are Sealed Top: I bought this top during a trip to Tickled Pink over the weekend and am so obsessed with it. I wear a lot of leggings, so this is something that would go great with those. I loved this too so much that I ended up grabbing it in the black as well.

SV Decker Chunky Heart Hoops: I have had my eye on these earrings for a while and I just recently added these to my collection. I am so glad that I did because I am obsessed with them. They are very lightweight, comfortable to wear, and do not get snagged in your mask. All of which as great wins for me.

Bala Bangles: I bought these to use with my stairstepper and I am so glad that I did. They are one pound weights that you can strap to your ankles or wrists. I personally used them as ankle weights and I really love them because it makes my stair stepper workout a bit more challenging and tones my legs in the process.

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Is the Peloton App Worth It?

Here’s a little story time for you: I’ve been a fan of working out from home for pretty much years. Before COVID-19, I would do whatever workout videos I can find from YouTube, and Amazon Prime. I did buy a workout bike, but it was a very basic one that you could not go out of the saddle no matter how many times you tried to do so.

When the pandemic was in full swing, I got the Peloton app. During the first few months of the pandemic, Peloton was free for 90 days. I really didn’t get that much use out of it, because my bike was not compatible with it. So, when the time came to either cancel or renew, I choose to cancel. 

I didn’t regret that decision one bit because I really didn’t use it and at the time, I did a few of the Jillian Micheals workouts. Since then, I’ve tried out Jazzercise On Demand and Apple Fitness Plus. I love both of them, but I am really blown away from the Peloton App. 

One of the reasons why I really love this app is the variety of workouts you can do. They have cycling and treadmill workouts (which they are known for), but they also have Strength, Yoga, Cardio, Meditation, Outdoor, Stretching, Tread Bootcamp, and Walking – just to name a few. I have tried cycling, strength and meditation and I absolutely love using it.

Peloton is known for their cycling classes, and I can see why. I love that I can choose my level of intensity. I also love that I can do themed classes (such as 80s, 2000s, and so much more), but also do ones that really are intense and challenging. Furthermore, there are some classes that combine cardio and strength, which I really love because it allows me to tone my arms at the same time. I do want to say that I do not have a Peloton bike, and I find that I am able to do the workouts just fine.

By using the Peloton app over Apple Fitness, I’ve noticed that in terms of cycling, I have been getting a better workout whether it’s because I’m combining it with strength or just doing harder classes.

What I also really like about Peloton is that newer classes are added daily as well as have several live classes throughout the day. I found that with Apple Fitness Plus they didn’t update it as often, so I enjoy that I don’t have to take the same class over again. When it comes to fitness, I need that variety or else I get bored.

What I also love about the app is the meditation. I have tried some of their meditations before going to bed, and they have made all of the difference. While I mainly use it to help with sleep, I definitely want to try it out for other purposes, such as self-acceptance and love. I have the Calm app subscription that I have since cancelled, and I am so relieved that I can integrate all of my needs into one app.

While I have yet to explore more of this app, I am absolutely obsessed with the Peloton app. I hope to explore the Yoga and the HIIT classes next, but I think that for the price of $12.99, it definitely holds its’ value. For me, it definitely bundles many of the workouts and health aspects that into one app, which I really love.

Have you tried using a Peloton bike or an app?

*This post was not sponsored by Peloton.

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April Reading Wrap-Up

It’s the start of a new month, so that means that it’s time to share all of the books that I’ve read during the month of April. During the month of April, I managed to read 7 books, and a good portion of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. I also managed to find a few books that I absolutely loved and knock off a few books that have been on my TBR for years. This month, I am hoping to read some thrillers and romance because I need a break from fantasy.

That said, here are all of the books that I read during the month of April:

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa Sloan: This was definitely one of my favorites that I read for the month. This book begins with Cassidy Holmes, the singer of girl group Gloss whose fame and popularity in the early 2000s, commits suicide. The book is multiple perspective — from Cassidy’s to the other members of the group’s. I really enjoyed reading this, and could not put this down. Four out of Five Stars.

When We Collided by Emery Lord: This is my third Emery Lord book, and was something that I have been wanted to read for a while. This book has our main character Vivi, who has bipolar disorder. Vivi and her mom move to a small town, where she meets Jonah. Jonah is dealing with the loss of his dad, and a mom who is depressed. The novel tells their love story, and offers a beautiful take on the relationships of mental health. Five out of Five Stars

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: This book is deemed as the modern-day Bridget Jones’ Diary. It talks about Queen Jenkins, who is struggling with her mental health. She just broke up with her boyfriend Tom, and the novel discusses her journey for recovery with that and other traumas in her life. Four out of Five Stars

You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson: Liz Lighty has a plan to get out of her small Indiana town. Become Prom Queen for the scholarship. She, along with her friends enter the campaign. However, in true high school fashion, nothing is as expected during prom night. This was such a cute read, and I really enjoyed reading it. There is a lot of queer representation in this novel, which I really enjoyed as well. Five out of Five Stars

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah: This is one of my favorite reads of the month as well. This tells the store of Kate and Tully, who meet on Firefly Lane in 1974. The two become best friends from their childhood days through adulthood. I absolutely loved this story to the point where when I reached the ending, I was in tears. I think I also finished this book in about two days, which is rare for me. Now that I read the book, I definitely want to watch the Netflix series. Five out of Five Stars

Shadow of Bone/Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: This is the first and second novels of the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Yes, this is also so I can watch the show as well. This tells the story of Alina, who was orphaned. She was never good at anything and was content at being a mapmaker. She is taken to the Grisha court, and learns why she is different. I read the first and second ones this month, and while I enjoyed them, I thought that they were severally overrated. Both I gave five out of five stars.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick: I have been wanting to read this for years, but never got around it for whatever reason. I loved My Life Next Door, and I loved following Tim Mason’s story. While I enjoyed this book, it wasn’t as good as My Life Next Door. I loved the relationship and the drama that the book had. I gave this book four out of five stars.