Sunday, July 27, 2014

(How To) Have an Awesome Vacation with Your Boyfriend - Toddlers & Tiaras Style

In honor of the 4th of July, here's a vacation post!

Vacations are tons of fun! Boyfriends are tons of fun!

(Well, they should be. Or consider the single thing.)

Toddlers & Tiaras are tons of fun (to laugh at)!


Why not combine it all and have a how-to guide for vacations with boyfriends, courtesy of the tots of Toddlers & Tiaras?


Half of them probably already have lots of experience (and that's a conservative guess).

1) Figure out a planning style.

My boyfriend is really not into planning, but luckily I LOOOOVE it.

Like I would almost rather plan a vacation than go on one...

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So it works out perfectly for us! If you both enjoy planning equally, however, or if you both don't enjoy planning, figure out some sort of division of labor that's acceptable to everyone. As is the general rule in relationships, communication is key. Don't make assumptions and you won't develop resentments.

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Also, be sure to have open communication about vacation budgets.

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If one of you wants to spend as little as possible (and get back to work as soon as possible) and the other wants a full week of luxury, off of work, it's important that you discuss that upfront and agree on something that works for both of you.

2) Be very clear about vacation finances.

Generally, I think an even 50/50 split is good. That's what I do and I've found that keeping a google document of expenses along the way, then summing everything up, dividing by two, and seeing if anyone owes the other anything, is really handy. That way you don't have to deal with the potential awkwardness of having to go clear halfsies on every single meal and snack.

Clear communication about going 50/50 also avoids this happening every time the check comes when you go out.

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So...are you going to get that?
The best part is that you can update the google doc from your phone, so it's simple to just keep two columns with X paid this much for this and Y paid that much for that.

3) Determine priorities for the vacation.

If one of you wants to tan by the beach and have a nice lazy vacay while the other really wants an active adventure vacation, it's important that you figure that out early and come to a conclusion.

Credit: Courtesy of Tumblr

The first step to finding a happy compromise and satisfying everyone's vacation desires is to know what they are. And I don't know about you, but I'm not a mind-reader.

(If you are a mind-reader and can teach me the tools of the trade, please give me a call at 555-4321. It would be so helpful at job interviews and in life in general).

4) Allow for a little personal space, especially if you're going on a long vacation for the first time.

I went to Disney World for 8 days with my boyfriend after only officially and exclusively dating for 3 months (and casually for 7). When it's still so new, you don't really know how living with a person for an extended time will be.

Though you might get along really well when you're only seeing each other a few hours a week, snark can happen when you're with each other 24/7, without breaks, away from the comforts of home, and with potential travel snafus cropping up.

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A little alone time, or at least the possibility of it, can keep the snark in check.

5) Don't get too self-obsessed.


Remember that you're dating him, not yourself, and while self-love is important and you definitely need to pay heed to your desires, it's also important to remember that you're not the only one that's supposed to have an awesome time on this vacation. It's not always about I want what I want how I want what I want when I want it.


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That said, it is your vacation too and so it's important that there really is a true balance. Don't be persuaded into spending your whole vacation doing things that you don't want to do.

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That's all guys! I hope the tips help. And if not, laughter (courtesy of the pint-sized beauty queens) is always good.

Have you ever taken a trip with a SO?

How did you approach planning the trip?

What is your top tip for a vacation with a SO?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

National Milk Chocolate Day Giveaway

Hand up if you love chocolate! Did all of you raise your hands? I certainly hope so, because not loving chocolate must certainly be some sort of extreme abnormality...

Kidding, you're still cool if you don't love chocolate.

But for all of those who do love chocolate, how do you feel about healthy chocolate? Chocolate that you can feel extra good about eating, chocolate that will power you through your day, your workout, your extreme-cleaning-before-someone-comes-over frenzy? 


That's what I thought.

In honor of National Milk Chocolate Day on July 24th - because that's definitely a day that needs to exist - and because you're all awesome, and because I haven't don't a giveaway in a while, here's a chocolicious giveaway!

One USA-based reader will win not one, but two (!), boxes of delicious Balance Bar chocolate protein bars, one in Chocolate Crave and one in Double Chocolate Brownie flavor!


The bars boast Balance Bar's usual balanced nutrition, with an optimal ratio of protein to carbs to fats for sustained energy and satiety.


That, and they're delicious!

You have two weeks to enter to win and can come back and enter/share daily, to increase your odds of winning. You know, if you really want some free chocolate! Good luck, everyone!  

Two Boxes of Balance Bars (1 Chocolate Crave & 1 Double Chocolate Brownie)


Yum, yum, chocolate protein bars :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Healthy Cooking for the Single Girl

It applies to those of us in long distance relationships every bit as much as those who are single - cooking for one, especially healthy cooking for one, can be quite a feat.

When you contemplate all the dirty dishes, the grocery shopping, the chopping, the preparation time, and the fact that you're probably only saving pennies on the meal, if that, it can be really tempting to just throw in the towel and call it a Seamless night every night.

But guess what happens then?

The Seamless delivery guy starts inquiring into your personal life. You get personal fortune cookie notes saying things like, "tomorrow, you will order the California Roll - am running out of avocado for the Avocado Roll" and "Don't tip with crinkly bills because the vending machine won't take them." And when you're finally not living like a single girl anymore, you'll realize you've lost all your mad Martha Stewart skills and regressed to soggy ramen and burnt toast.




A good goal is to aim to cook at least three or four meals at home per week. How much you end up doing, whether it's a little below that or way above that, depends on your lifestyle, budget, and what works for you.

But three or four meals a week, even if they aren't all elaborate seven-course stunners (let's be honest - elaborate three course stunners is already a huge stretch) are enough to keep you in the habit.

There are a few tricks that make cooking for one easier.

Buy ingredients you just need a tiny bit for from the salad bar. Dying to try a cool new recipe with a million ingredients, each of which is only about a tablespoonful when scaled back to a single portion? Instead of buying the ingredients in the grocery store, and ending up either having to make that recipe a million times to use everything up, or having to toss it all out because it goes bad before you finish it, shop the salad bar!


You can easily get a little bit of diced tomato or diced onion for your stew there in exactly the amount that you need.

Try dishes that have easy spinoffs. I went to boarding school and college after, so I've had plenty of time to pick up the sly tricks of the cafeteria workers - remember how there was meatloaf for dinner on Tuesday and Shepard's pie on Wednesday that tasted suspiciously like the meatloaf with an extra layer of mashed potatoes?




That sly trickery can serve you well. If you're making pasta with tomato sauce one night, make a little extra and you have the pizza sauce for your next dinner's personal pan pizza! It's a huge time saver, as long as you can do a little planning.

Look for longer shelf-life alternatives to the ingredients you need. Swapping out super perishable ingredients for less perishable alternatives, like frozen vegetables for fresh in a stew (flash-frozen veggies maintain most of the nutrient content) can save you a lot of money and headache. Some swaps can even make your food healthier!



My favorite less-perishable, healthy swap is using chia seeds instead of eggs!


Just like eggs, chia seeds are a powerful binding ingredient for cakes, loaves, baked oatmeal, etc. - but you can keep a bag of chia seeds in the pantry for way longer than you can keep eggs in the fridge. The powerful little seeds also pack a lot of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, making them a great addition to your diet!

Not burnt (I swear) just that chocolatey - I got a special type of baking cocoa and used 100% baking chocolate squares
I like to use them in microwave cakes (hey, hey, hey healthy chocolate) and favor Nutiva black chia seeds (and white chia seeds, for vanilla microwave cakes or thick smoothies!) for consistently high quality and great bags that keep the powerful seeds fresh even longer.



What are your favorite single portion recipes? Links are welcome!

Do you have any single portion cooking tips?

How often do you eat out per week? And are you happy with it or working on changing your patterns?

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