My fave candle + a 3 course meal!


Hi friends πŸ™‚

Don’t you just love when you discover an amazing restaurant in the EXACT moment that you need something great to eat? A couple days ago Joel and I were out running errands when the hunger pangs struck us. We were in a town that we are not super familiar with and had no idea where to stop for lunch. We were debating what to do while at a stoplight when I looked up and suddenly saw the perfect place!Β Pho & Spice!


There is a special place in my heart for Thai food (and also Vietnamese… anything Asian really)! So I was very excited that we happened up on this gem. There is actually a Pho & Spice location in New Haven which we have been to a couple times. Based on our prior experience, we knew we were in for some good food. πŸ™‚


The menu is quite sizeable with plenty of options to suit pretty much every preference. I debated a few alternatives but finally settled on one of the lunch specials. The lunch special price is pretty great (around $9) and you get 3 “courses”. First came a spring roll and dumpling… yum πŸ™‚


And then came this incredible seaweed soup. It was a very cold day so this piping hot soup really hit the spot. I could have downed another 2 or 3 bowls of this.


The main course, star of the show… salmon with vegetables and rice. It looks like a small portion, but that’s just because the plate is enormous. This was a generous amount of food and half of it came home with us for leftovers. I’m pretty thrilled with our choice of restaurant. This is a good reminder that we need to return to the Pho & Spice in New Haven for a meal sometime soon! πŸ™‚


Let’s talk footwear and back pain! When I want to do something outside in the winter, I generally reach for my hiking boots. They keep my feet warm and dry, and are super comfortable. Can’t go wrong, right? However, after going on a long (2+ hour) walk on a paved trail in my boots, I felt a NIGGLE in my lower back. Eeeek!

Let me give you some backstory here (pardon the pun hehe)… there is a specific muscle in my lower back that actually SPASMED a couple years ago after I went back to running too soon following a marathon (please do not repeat my mistake) –> the acute back pain went away in a couple days but my lower back took almost an entire year to feel back to “normal” again. Ever since then, I continually work on strengthening those muscles and the muscles surrounding (glutes, hips, hams, core, etc) and keeping up with stretching. All of this has helped a LOT.

It has now been 2 years since that awful back spasm, and in general my back feels fine. But when I felt that little niggle, it was a reminder to double-check everything from my form, gait, strength training, stretches, and even footwear. I think my hiking boots may have been partially to blame — they are heavier than regular running shoes and since I keep them loosely laced (I like to be able to slip my feet in and out) they may not have provided as much support as I thought. All of this may have changed my gait slightly. 2 hours is a long time to go with a modified gait, and it would definitely take its toll on any weak links in the kinetic chain!

In addition to keeping up with the strength training, I am also going to be careful about choice of footwear! Those hiking boots (properly laced up lol!) are great for actual hiking, but real training shoes are probably more appropriate for when I’m out on paved trails. I definitely notice that my back feels totally fine even after super long walks in these πŸ™‚


In other news, Joel and I popped into Nica’s Market for sandwiches the other day. When we first moved to Connecticut, their sandwiches were around $6 each. Now they are $8 or even $8.50 depending on the sandwich. It’s still a pretty good deal considering the size of the portions (usually enough for 2 meals). But regardless, it sometimes stinks to see those prices going up!


While we were there, we spotted a couple of my favorite Toblerone! I wish our grocery store sold these but I must admit: finding this chocolate in random places makes it more of an exciting treat (compared to always having it in the house). Find it HERE!


My favorite sandwich from Nica’s is “The Flag” which comes with mozerella, tomato, fresh basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. It’s pretty stellar! This time around I felt the urge to add grilled chicken for some extra protein. It tasted nice but I definitely prefer the sandwich “as is” (without chicken). Joel went for the “Alpino” sandwich, which comes withΒ Bresaola, arugula, red onions, olives, shredded parmigiano or Swiss, and olive oil. He added a few kettle cooked jalapeno chips on the side πŸ™‚


Just some cantaloupe in the car while heading over to BJ’s with Bernice. It may not be the most travel-friendly of foods, but its deliciousness makes up for that. Joel picks out the best cantaloupes — perfectly ripe, sweet, and juicy.


Would you believe this was my very first time in a BJ’s? Bernice has a membership and invited me to tag along on her shopping trip so that I could check out their bulk prices. I will be back with her to pick up things in bulk. Since it’s just Joel and I at home mostly, we do not have our own membership. I feel like memberships make sense for bigger families, or if you can split it with someone. It sure is nice to have friends who are members though! I need to put a list of things together for the next time I am here with Bernice.


Have I mentioned my favorite candle of late? I love this Rosemary Mint vegan soy candle. The scent is light and clean, and absolutely perfect for small spaces. Probably the best thing about it is that it isn’t too over-powering or cloying. I have a sensitive nose (Joel calls it my Super Sniffer) and do not always enjoy strong scents. This lightly fragranced little guy is perfect! I also love that it is soy so I don’t have to wonder what it is releasing into the air of my home. πŸ™‚ I got it on sale at Target over the holidays… I hope Target still carries these because I definitely want to get more!


What do you recommend buying in bulk? I’m thinking toilet paper, beef/chicken to freeze, but other suggestions are welcome!Β Your favorite soy candle? What exercises and stretches do you prefer for your lower back?Β 

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11 thoughts on “My fave candle + a 3 course meal!

  1. I don’t have a BJ’s membership but my parents have a Costco one. At Costco, you can buy giftcards and then shop without the membership card which is nice. I went back in May and bought a giant thing of toilet paper and we still have some left so it’s definitely cheaper to do that. I find their prices for meat to be good too! I freeze most of the meat I buy anyway so buying in bulk saves money for us. Personally, I think a membership is worth it and will be buying one for myself soon! If you eat granola bars then I find the bulk prices to be better plus they last a lot longer.


    1. I want to do that too! Bulk toilet paper, maybe also paper towels and other essentials! Good idea, I’ll look into granola bars and other foods that have long shelf life for the pantry. And things to freeze for later! 😊


  2. I go to Costco here and what I buy there is:
    Toilet Paper
    Paper towels
    Chicken/beef/fish (frozen)
    Hot dogs and buns for the kiddo
    Lunch snacks for the kiddo
    Soda for me and my Mom (my son hates soda)
    Household and Sanitary products
    I usually go once a month for food but everything else lasts months!


    1. That’s an awesome list! Good idea on getting canned/bottled drinks since they don’t go bad. Its also super nice that you only have to go once a month — I can imagine a lot of the stuff would last quite a while! πŸ˜€


  3. I used to have a BJ’s membership, but they don’t have one here so we just got Costco. Some items I’ve always bought in bulk paper products (toilet paper, tissues, napkins, paper towels), meats if you have the freezer space, vitamins, individually wrapped snacks (protein bars, goldfish crackers, chips, etc). I also buy milk whenever I go there. they sell it by the gallon and the price is a lot cheaper. they do have almond milk and others like that as well. We buy yogurt there too. It is also a great place to pick up movies, books and cards/wrapping paper at a lower price.


    1. I’m totally on board with bulk paper products and freezer meats. I hadn’t thought about getting vitamins but that makes perfect sense too. I will look into their deals for almond milk — it would be great if we could save on that too! Thanks for the suggestions! πŸ˜€


  4. I previously had a Sams Club membership but let it run out after I joined BJs and found that I liked it a lot more. I buy the following regularly at BJs – toilet paper, paper towels, cases of bottled water, bathroom cups, peanut butter, maple syrup and laundry detergent. I also buy chicken nuggets, cereal, mixed greens (my husband uses them in smoothies so we freeze them, way cheaper than the containers we get at the grocery store), pork chops, chicken tenderloins and breasts and butter. We also like to check out some of the snack items they have; we gotten some plantain chips and trail mixes in bigger containers for cheaper than what we’ve gotten at the grocery store. Like anything else bigger isn’t always better; there was a brand of granola bars that was more expensive at BJs than at the grocery store but in general I find buying in bulk at BJs is cheaper. The reason I like them over Sams Club is a bigger variety of organic items and the store tends to be less busy to shop in.


    1. That’s a really good thing to remember that bigger isn’t always better. I’ll definitely remember to always compare prices instead of just blindly shopping. I am a huge plantain chips fan and would love to start buying them in bulk. I’m glad to hear such positive things about BJ’s! I’m so glad we have one near us — only 15 min away! The closest Costco is about 40 min away so it’s nice to have this option so close by. 😁


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