Brewing Coffee At Home

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with coffee big time.

Considering all of us are stuck at home for a while, I thought I would talk about some at-home brewing methods I am using daily and some fun ones to try! Here are my top 5 coffee brewing ideas to try at home:

  1. Cold Brew Coffee
    I love love love cold brew coffee; one of my favorite coffees to get at my local coffee shop is a black nitro cold brew. IT IS THE BOMB!
    I love how creamy, smooth, and not acidic cold brew coffees are and wanted to try to make it at home.
    So far, I have tried making cold brew in my large French press. I used a med/coarse ground coffee(I do 2 tbsp for every 6 oz of water) and added that to my French press. I added room temperature water and put the press/ lid on top but did not press it down. I put my French press in my refrigerator and let it sit overnight (approx. 15 hours). I took the French press out of the fridge and pressed my coffee. Then you are ready to pour and enjoy!
    I also decided to order a cold brew coffee maker to make my life easier because French presses become cumbersome to clean regularly. I ordered the Cold Brew Mason Jar Coffee Maker by Country Line Kitchen on Amazon. I am patiently waiting for its arrival. I choose this cold brew maker because while reading reviews for other cold brew makers, people said the glass breaks easily. The brewer I bought is already made with durability in mind because it is made from a mason jar. I ordered the 1-quart option because that is about 2-3 days worth of coffee for me. They also have a 2-quart option if you drink a lot of coffee, want to make coffee once a week, or have multiple people in your house drinking cold brew. I also really liked this cold brew maker because of the easy pour lid and removable stainless steel filter. Once I get the coffee maker, I will make sure to let you know if it’s as excellent as I expect it to be.
  2. French Press Coffee
    I have a 2 cup French Press, and that thing is my best friend. I drink my coffee black, and there is nothing like a delicious, dark, rich cup of coffee from a French press. If you have a French press, awesome! Get that thing out for some quick and delicious coffee. If not, I suggest you grab one because I am learning some cool new tricks with mine, and you’ll need one to try them!
    I use 2 tbsp of coarse grounds for every 6 oz of water for my French press. ( many people recommend weighing your coffee for a more precise ratio, but how many of you at home have kitchen scales? I want this to be easy for you!!) I add my grounds to the bottom of my French press and boil water in my electric kettle. I pour the boiling water over the grounds and make sure all grounds are saturated with water. Once your done pouring set a time for 4 minutes. ( I also sometimes add my lid but make sure it is not touching the grounds floating on top). After the 4 minutes, press and enjoy! It’s that easy.
    I recently learned another method of brewing in a French press from Electric City Roasting Co. They do live brewing tutorials on Instagram during the week, and I am obsessed with them. They went over this second method, and I have been using it ever since.
    I use the same ratio of 2 tbsp of grounds for every 6 oz of water. I use a more medium grind for this method instead of the more traditional coarse ground for a French press. I do the same thing for the French press except for the last steps. Once I pour my boiling water, I do not cover my coffee with the lid. I wait 4 minutes, and then I take a spoon and push the coffee gently down into the water a bit ( called folding). You will start to see grounds float to the bottom. I usually do this folding 2-3 times. Then you’ll see a small foamy, lighter colored top layer (called crème). Scoop that off and get rid of it. Once it’s gone, add your lid, but DO NOT press. The top helps with pouring the hot coffee. The grounds that floated to the bottom should stay there, so pour and enjoy!

    *Here is another trick for your French press. You can add milk to your French press and repeatedly plunge until you create foam. The foam stays colder and is perfect for adding to your cold brew coffee or even iced coffee!!*
  3. Regular Automatic Coffee Maker
    You are probably reading this thinking, Maria, this all sounds great, but I do not have a French press and cannot get once anytime soon. 


    I recommend grabbing a coffee from a local coffee shop/ micro-roaster to treat yourself while you’re at home. Stick with the 2 tbsp to 6 oz water ratio, and you’ll be enjoying your cup of joe in no time! 

    I may be a bit bias, but Electric City Roasting Co. has incredible coffee. You can order from them through this link:

  4. Whipped Coffee / Dalgona Coffee Trend
    I was very eager to try this internet trend and tried it this weekend! I was shocked that I loved this drink so much. I used Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade instant coffee. I made enough for me to have a large glass and a little extra for my dad to try. Everyone has been using a 1:1:1 ratio for the whipped coffee. I used 3 tbsp of instant coffee, 3 tbsp of sugar, and 3 tbsp of water. I manually whipped the coffee with a whisk, and it took me about 15 minutes to whisk by hand. I also let the whipped coffee chill in the refrigerator right after whipping for about 5ish minutes. This made it stiffer and lighter. When it came out of the fridge, it was the perfect stiff consistency. I used oat milk for my glass and cows milk for my dad’s. The whipped coffee seemed to begin to blend with the oat milk a little quicker than the cow’s milk. I also followed the suggestion of Electric City Roasting Co., and my dad and I mixed the whipped coffee with the milk. I tasted it beforehand, and it is very, very strong straight up. I was super happy with how it came out, and so was my dad. It stayed frothy throughout the time drinking it! It was way sweeter than I typically like, but delicious none the less. I highly recommend trying this when you have a little extra time to make coffee!
  5. Espresso Coffee
    So you may not have an espresso maker at home. If you are like me and do, this last section is for you! I rarely get to use my manual espresso maker because it takes time to do it right. I have a lot more time on my hands now, so I decided to pull it out and play! I used some fine grind, dark roasted coffee and got to work. I watched some YouTube videos about pulling my shots on my espresso maker and am trying to perfect my craft. I also played with my steamer and tried to learn how to produce the best milk with just the right amount of foam. I ended up making a latte with a dash of vanilla extract added! SO GOOD!
    I highly recommend taking the time out to use your espresso machine and make yourself some specialty drinks. I miss going to coffee shops so badly, so this makes me miss them a little less. Get your machine out and find some espresso drink recipes online and get to work!

Do you have any home brewing methods/ ideas that are delicious? Please share in the comments below!!

Healthy Shepard’s Pie

I love cooking some cozy and delicious recipes. My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s cozy yet healthy!

This recipe typically makes 5-6ish large servings.

*I use Whole 30 compliant ingredients for this recipe.

– 3 lb Ground Turkey
– Kitchen Basics Chicken Bone Broth (Original)
– About 2 cups of Celery, Onion, Carrot Mirepoix ( I typically buy the premade ones at the store in the produce section – just check to make sure they don’t have any added ingredients)
– 5 lb bag of yellow potatoes
– salt and pepper to taste


1. preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

2. cut potatoes and boil them until they are super tender

3. while the potatoes are boiling, begin to brown the ground turkey

4. once the ground turkey starts turning brown, add the Mirepoix and the bone broth. Let the ground turkey finish browning and absorb the bone broth

5. once the potatoes are super tender, strain and mash (do not add anything to the potatoes)

6. once the ground turkey is brown, Mirepoix tender, and bone broth mostly absorbed, add to a deep baking dish.

7. cover the ground turkey evenly with the mashed potatoes 

8. let cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes at least

9. you will know it’s ready once the mashed potatoes start to turn slightly brown in some places. 

10. take out of the oven and enjoy!

Pro Tip: we love to leave a little of the mashed potatoes out and add a bit extra mashed potato to our bowls!

Maria Does Whole 30

Not to be dramatic, but Whole 30 has changed my life.

I am gearing up to do my 3rd round on April 13th with the Whole 30 community for Whole 30 at home.
It is wild the amount you learn about food and yourself during a Whole 30 journey.

You are probably wondering how has Whole 30 changed my life. I have spent my entire life with many food and environmental allergies and sensitivities. This has always made navigating life more difficult. I worry about the foods I eat when I cannot read the ingredients. I worry about air fresheners and perfumes while I am out and about because I know they can make me feel sick. The more I am exposed to things I am sensitive to, the less I can tolerate them. Many foods that you don’t eat during Whole 30 are actually foods I am allergic and sensitive to. This is one of the reasons it was a good fit for me.

Whole 30 is meant to be a food experiment. You don’t eat foods that could cause allergic reactions or cause an inflammatory response. After 30 days of eating real food, you reintroduce all the other foods you avoided for 30 days. This allows you to see how your body reacts to these foods.

During my reintroduction, I learned about my gluten intolerance, that sugar makes me feel gross and triggers migraines, and that my stomach does not like corn! I also found out that I can have dairy in small quantities without having a reaction. I for sure thought dairy would have been bad for me.

I have a degree in nutrition and love the fact I got to experiment with food and my body to see what it likes and dislikes. I also really enjoy cooking and trying new foods, so I made sure to do both of those to make the 30 days easier.

By far, my favorite thing about Whole 30 is that it is not meant to be just another weight loss diet. It’s actually against the Whole 30 rules to step on a scale and measure yourself during Whole 30.
I wanted to eat healthily and develop strong, healthy eating habits, and Whole 30 did that for me. Can you lose weight in the process? Yes. But is that why you should do it? No.

I want to be healthy. I want to walk farther, dance longer, perform better at work, and show up more present in my life. Whole 30 did all of this for me. It keeps my brain sharp and gives me the endurance to get through long days. It has taught me to not eat because I am bored or emotional. I use to do both A LOT!

Something else I love about Whole 30 is the founder, Melissa Urban. She is such a role model. She is raw, all the time. She is honest, all the time. She shows up, apologetically herself on social media, in her books, and really anywhere. I love being able to see a real person going through life, good and bad times. She is really inspiring. Through her books, emails, and social media pages, she is a great coach and is what you need to get through a Whole 30. After reading so much of her material, she feels like a friend that you can relate to and comfort you.

I found this especially true while reading her book Food Freedom Forever. Food Freedom is that place where you can say no to foods you don’t want to eat without guilt while eating foods you do want without quilty too. Food Freedom understanding what your body likes and dislikes and using that knowledge to make yourself feel good. It is the empowerment you have knowing you are eating food that makes you feel good, even if that means eating a piece of cake you super want! There is no such thing as a perfect Whole 30. Also, after working hard to to find your Food Freedom, you will move back to unhealthy routines. Heck, after my first Whole 30, after a few months, I went right back to my old habits to eating sooo many baked goods and drinking sooo many sugary Starbucks drinks. And as I said before, gluten and sugar are not my friends, so this was definitely bad for me.

I am currently working on my Food Freedom, and it’s hard. I have spent 3-4 days in a row eating sugary foods when I don’t even really want to eat because it is so easy to fall into my old habits. That’s kind of why I want to do another round. To reset and introduce some of the foods, I haven’t and remind myself how good I feel without sugar.

Whole 30 may not be the right fit for you, but if you’re looking to learn about food and your body, I would consider it. There are so many free resources and people who will help you through it.

If you are interested in learning more about Whole 30, please check out their website here:

If you have questions for me about my experience or any cool Whole 30 recipes, please feel free to reach out!

Coping during COVID

These are unprecedented times.

I love dystopian movies and books. It is my favorite genre, actually. I am always intrigued by what could happen to our world. One of my favorites is World War Z. The zombies in that movie are super quick, and I definitely would not want to be alive to experience those types of zombies.

Right now, I feel like I am living in one of the dystopian books I’ve read or movies I have watched. Honestly, it feels a lot different then I would have thought. I would have expected to be on the run, no running water, and feel unsafe even at my own home. I believe this pandemic has a quietness to it. It has a loneliness component that feels different then what I have read and watched. It’s bizarre to see how quiet and slow the world is right now.

As humans we are social creatures. We crave attention, love, and connection from others. I think that’s what makes staying at home and social distancing so hard.

Some days I struggle real hard. I am blessed to be working from home, but some days it’s just hard to get out of bed and so the same thing again. Its hard knowing I won’t be in my office for weeks, maybe months. Other days I try to take advantage of the gift of time. I take a long walk, read a book I have had on my shelf for forever, and spend time with the family I am at home with.

I put a lot of pressure on myself regularly, even before this pandemic, to do more, be more, accomplish more. I never feel like I have learned enough or do enough. Honestly, I still feel this way even though I have a lot more time. I am trying hard every day to stop this. I am doing enough. At this point, surviving this pandemic is ENOUGH. It’s okay to be sad, its okay to feel alone.

I am trying hard to reach out to friends and set up phone calls and video calls. I am using my time being at home as an excuse to binge my favorite tv shows, read books, clean my room, learn something new, and take walks every day. These are self-care to me, and I know if I didn’t pursue these activities, I would not be well mentally.

For those of you who read my thoughts on COVID-19, thank you. We are struggling out here and know I am here for you. Reach out to me if you need anything. I am challenging you to do something this weekend that will lift your spirits and is self-care for you. This is your remaindered that you are doing great, and this will all be over before we know it. Hang in there.

Winter Refresh: Travel Edition

I find it that the holidays are perceived to be relaxing due to the time you have off of work and that you get to spend time with family and friends. I believe the holidays are some of the most unrelaxing and stressful times of the year. Don’t get me wrong, the days off of work and sleeping in can help to recharge a bit but at the end of the day, I don’t get to just relax. Between late nights filled with fun family activities, completing tasks and errands that are hard to do while at work, and traveling from place to place to celebrate, the holidays can leave you tired and dreading January.

I think it can be important to prioritize self-care for the first 2 weeks of January. Go to bed early, do a relaxing activity, go for a walk, whatever self-care is for you do it! I find that mid-January is when winter gets tough. Usually, the cold weather gets colder ( at least where I am from) and the hype from the holidays has fully dissipated. This is the time where I recommend a winter refresh!

A winter refresh is where you plan an activity, go somewhere, or do something to excite you and increase your moral at a rather gloomy time of year. Here are some ways to do a winter refresh:


  1. Travel somewhere that has the opposite temperature/ climate of where you live. 
    If the temperature where you live is hot, go somewhere cold. If where you live is cold, go somewhere warm. This breaks up the monotony of January and makes you feel like you’re experiencing something new. This also lets you indulge in activities that you may not be able to do in your area at this time of year. How cool would it be to lay on a beach during the winter when you are from a cold area and are used to frigid temperatures? How fun would it be to ski the slopes of mountains for a week if you’re from a warmer climate?
    In 2017, I traveled to a warm place in January and a cold place in August. The temperature change was an amazing aspect of both trips. That winter did not feel so long and cold and that summer wasn’t too humid and hot.
    If you are able to, getaway for a week and travel to somewhere new with a different climate than your home has right now!
  2. Try an activity that you can only do at this time of year. 
    Whatever season you are experiencing, there are activities around your area that can only be done in this season. For me, it’s winter and cold right now. Living in the mountains, common activities near me are skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, etc. These activities have a timestamp and end whenever the temperature and precipitation decided it in late winter/ early spring. It is also a good time to try cozy indoor activities like getting a hot beverage at a coffee shop!
    If you are in a rainy season is there a hiking trail that has an awesome waterfall that you can only see in the rainy season? Is it super hot where you are? Head to a cool indoor activity you have always wanted to try or dive into water sports!
    I challenge you to plan a fun activity for the end of January that has you taking advantage of the current season you are in.
  3. Visit a location you love in its offseason.
    The beach is an awesome place to visit when its warm and you can lay in the sun all day but have you ever been to the beach when it’s cold?
    I highly suggest visiting a place that you love where January is its offseason. You already love the location and it will be fun to see it in a new light. Traveling to a place in its offseason gives you a new perspective of that location and you may notice new and exciting things!
    I try to do this whenever I can! Just the other day I visited the lake that I kayak on during the summer. With the trees bare and lake frozen, I noticed new things about the area that I don’t see in the summer. I also love visiting the beach in the offseason. There is something about a vacant beach with loud, crashing, winter waves that excites me in a unique way.

Don’t let January get you down this year and plan something fun! Whether it’s a half-day activity or a week-long vacation, do something this month for YOU!

What do you plan on doing to spice up your January?

New Year Same Me. My 20 for 2020.

Real talk about New Years Resolutions and setting realistic goals for the new year.

With a new year and a new decade approaching it’s hard not to think about the past, the present, and sometimes the daunting future. Every year I try to tell myself that I am going to do this and that in the new year but when the time comes, I end up not following through. I have listened to this podcast called Happier with Gretchen Rubin consistently for about the past year. They would talk about their 19 for 2019 and the different times of the year that can be treated as a time to start new things. I always found this fascinating. As a Gretchen Rubin Obliger ( if you don’t know what this is please click here: ), I tend to need plans and accountability to follow my goals. This means I tend to consistently fall short of New Year’s resolutions and new goals I set during the year. I want to do a lot but do not have the time and stamina to do it all.

I think this is why the concept of 20 for 2020 has really hit me while listening to the Happier podcast. I feel that spending the year focusing on 20 things will give me a variety of things to do yet a structure and priority to tasks in my life. I have spent the past few weeks honing in and thinking of things that make me happy. I thought of things that are good for my well being and my brain. I also thought about what is good for my body. I created a list of things I want to strive toward. These are not resolutions in the sense of if I don’t complete them, I fail. These are 20 things I want to prioritize and work on in the new year. They are things I love and want to include more in my life. I also tell myself and will stick to the idea that these are not things to check off a to-do list. Overall, I don’t want to be perfect with these. I want to realistically incorporate my favorite things in my life.

Below are my 20 for 2020 and how I plan to incorporate them into my life.

  1. Walk Daily
    Since I work in an office, it can be hard some days to be active. I want to make sure I am a smidge active even if I have a busy day. I have a Fitbit and plan to track my steps to see how many I typically take in a day. I hope to add  500 to 1000 steps every few weeks to slowly increase my activity level.
  2. Begin a regular Yoga and Meditation practice
    I absolutely love yoga, especially restorative yoga. I want to make sure I prioritize practicing yoga. It is one of my favorite ways to get active and also slow down. I also think meditation is really awesome for my well being and pairs well with a yoga practice. I would love to get into a regular yoga and meditation practice daily.
  3. Live a more sustainable life
    I have been really trying to live a more sustainable life the past year and I want to continue this into the new year. I would like to focus on always using reusable bags at the grocery store, bringing a travel mug when getting to-go coffee at coffee shops, and using reusable straws. Hopefully, after focusing on these sustainability efforts, I can set new goals.
  4. Establish my blog
    I have been having so much fun writing articles for my blog! I want to set goals for my blog and write material regularly. I want to share my coffee and travel knowledge and think blog posts and videos are the best way to do that.
  5. Schedule doctors appointments
    I have noticed that as I get older, life happens and doctors appointments aren’t seen as much as a priority when I am feeling good. I only head to the doctor when I don’t feel well. I want to make sure as I get older I am healthy and staying on top of my health. I want to schedule things like the eye doctor’s appointment I have put off in 2019.
  6. Focus on my Pampered Chef business
    I absolutely love to cook and decided in March of 2019 that I wanted to be a consultant for Pampered Chef. Life got crazy and I had to put this side hustle to the side. I want to pick up my love for cooking again and share my love through Pampered Chef.
  7. Kon Mari my life
    I loved watching the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo when it came out. I began to use the method to organize my apartment but then I moved and everything got crazy and disorganized! I want to spend this year taking time to organize and get rid of things that no longer serve me.
  8. Save money for a down payment on a house
    I would love love love to be in the position by the end of 2020 to buy a house. My goal is to buy a cute little house in Scranton, PA!
  9. Start an Etsy shop
    One of my destressers is being crafty. Some of my favorite crafting activities are painting and crocheting. I would love to dive into this outlet and sell some of my items on Etsy!
  10. Read regularly
    I have never been a regular reader but I love reading. This summer, I spent some of my lunch break reading. This was a great way to get my reading in but also to take a mental rest from work. I plan to find time slots like this in my daily schedule to read. I would like to read at least 12 books during 2020.
  11. Hike once a month
    Hiking is one of my favorites ways to connect with nature and be active. I plan to hike once a month to a new location and maybe incorporate some of my favorite hiking locations.
  12. Start my PhD
    My entire life I have dreamed of getting my PhD. I get to begin this journey in the summer of 2020!
  13. Deepen my faith
    I want to dive into my faith and spirituality this year and reconnect with my faith. I have spent most of my life attending and now working at Catholic schools and I want to learn more about my religion. I hope to attend mass and spend time connecting with God in 2020.
  14. Paint regularly
    When I was in college I found a passion for painting. I love painting nature scenes and find painting outside incredibly relaxing.  I want to spend some of my spare time painting in 2020.
  15. Journal daily
    In 2019, I began journaling and reflecting on my day to day life. I would like to make a habit of this and journal every day in some capacity to document and reflect on life.
  16. Deepen my knowledge and appreciation for coffee
    As you probably already know, I love coffee! I have spent a lot of time studying, learning, and drinking coffee. I really want to learn more about this passion of mine and try new types of coffee!
  17. Find my Food Freedom
    In April I did the Whole 30. (If you do not know about Whole 30 please go here: ) I mainly choose Whole 30 because I wanted to assess what I have reactions to and what foods I should be cautious of. Food Freedom is the aftermath of Whole 30 by using my knowledge from this food experiment. I plan on doing Whole 30 in January to reassess the reactions I have to different foods and build my Food Freedom.
  18. Decrease social media/ phone use
    I am so tied to my phone and social media. I love using Instagram and Facebook but I loved the break I took over Christmas for 2 days. I want to plan some time away from my phone and off of social media. I also want to be conscientious of the amount of time I spend on my phone every day.
  19. Buy a DSLR camera
    I have dreamed of owning a DSLR Canon camera for most of my life. I am making a savings plan to get the exact camera I have been dreaming of. I plan to dive into my love of photography once I get my camera.
  20. Kayak weekly in the summer
    Kayaking is my absolute favorite outdoor activity and water sport. I live by a lake and have my own kayak. In summers past, I have not kayaked as much as I would have liked. My goal is to try to kayak at least once a week!


So there is my 20 for 2020! I am excited to begin this new decade and focus on some activities that make me happy. I hope this helps you plan your own 20 for 2020. Remember to not hold yourself to unrealistic standards in the new year. Comment below some things from your 20 for 2020 list!

Happy New Year and Cheers to a new decade! 🥂


Top 3 Favorite Holiday Coffee Drinks

I have spent this holiday season trying new coffees! Here are my top 3 that I recommend trying before the holidays are over.

1. Irish Cream Cold Brew at Starbucks

The Irish Cream Cold Brew is a stunning take on a cold brew drink. It’s everything cozy about winter and the holidays in a cup of cold brew. I love the smoothness of cold brew so the creamy taste of the Irish Cream and the sweet cold foam really makes this drink stand out. If you’re looking for a cold holiday drink or just something not traditional, I really recommend this drink at Starbucks!

If you want to make this drink at home I found a good looking recipe here:

2. Eggnog Latte at Frisky Goat Coffee House

This drink took me by surprise. I enjoy going to Starbucks now and then but didn’t realize they had this. I tried it at this cool local coffee shop called the Frisky Goat Coffee House in Milford, Pennsylvania. I have never loved eggnog but with the holidays underway and the new year coming up thought that it would be a neat thing to try. I was blown away by this drink! The eggnog flavor was subtle and paired very well with the espresso. I must also compliment the craftsmanship of the barista for this latte too. It was extremely well made with the perfect amount if foam for a latte.

If you are no where near the Frisky Goat Coffee House, Starbucks also has this drink. I have never tried the Starbucks version though. So until I do, it doesn’t have my stamp of approval.

If you want to make this at home, here is a recipe that looks yummy:

3. Peppermint Mocha Latte at Kay’s Daily Grind

The classic peppermint mocha. This is my go to holiday drink at Kay’s Daily Grind in Daleville, Pennsylvania and Starbucks. I love peppermint, chocolate, and coffee so this really is a solid go to for me. I think is captures fresh, warm, and cozy in a cup. I love the local coffee shop Kay’s Daily Grind and that is typically where I get this drink. My recommendation is to get it with have the flavoring and sweetener wherever you get it. I don’t love super sweet drinks and think it can be too powerful with full flavor. I think this drink when half sweetened is delicious yet subtle.

If you want to be cozy at home and enjoy this drink, here is a recipe:

Even though these are my favorites this season, there a so many good coffee options out right now. I have yet to try something that tastes like gingerbread this season but I’m hoping I will soon!

Comment your favorite holiday coffee drink below! 🎄☕️

Maria Obsesses Over Black Friday

I am currently obsessing over Black Friday deals for 2019!!

I am all about saving some $$$ while Christmas shopping. Last year I got some awesome deals online for Black Friday and I became determined this year to make sure I find all of the deals.

I’m going to review how I found out about many of these deals and some of my favs from these lists!!

My current Black Friday obsession has been fueled by this awesome app called Krazy Coupon Lady. The app has a comprehensive overview of all the Black Friday deals and a calendar with dates on when each stores Black Friday ads are most likely to be released. I am signed up to receive their emails and can tailor notifications in the app for what you care about.

Here is the calendar for the Black Friday ad release dates!!

Target and Old Navy are currently have my fav deals. I am (not patiently) waiting for Amazon’s deals to drop on the predicted date of November 22nd.

My favorite upcoming deals from Target are….

  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera for $49.99
  • 7th Generation 10.2 inch IPad for $249.99 ( this is $80 off original price!)
  • Threshold Sherpa or Chenille throw blankets for $10

My favorite upcoming deals from Old Navy are….

  • $1 cozy socks!!

I will continue to update this as we get closer to Black Friday!

Happy Shopping!!

How To Find A Good Local Coffee Shop While Traveling

Ever wonder, “how the heck do I find a local coffee shop while traveling?” Have you looked for coffee that isn’t Starbucks or Dunkin while you are out and about?

This guide will help you choose a local and unique coffee shop that will fit your coffee needs!

1. Ask yourself, ” what type of coffee drink am I looking for?”

Are you looking for just a stunning cup of regular drip coffee? Are you looking for a specialty drink like a latte, cappuccino, or even matcha? Deciding if you want food during your coffee run is important too. Knowing what you want will help you sort through your options when you start searching.

2. What you are going to be looking for when you search:

  • When I look for a local coffee shop, I tend to gravitate towards shops that roast their coffee. The coffee shop’s name typically says “roasting” in it if they roast their coffee. This is just a preference of mine because I like trying micro-roasters. Most local coffee shops use unique coffee beans from smaller roasters that will still taste great.

  • Usually, when you search for a coffee shop online, there are photos, reviews, menus, websites, etc. I typically look at the pictures of the shop and the menu. I see if the shop has the kind of coffee I want and if they sell food. I like coffee shops that sell some pastries and breakfast sandwiches at most. I try to avoid shops that look like they serve full breakfast or even lunch because they probably don’t have local coffee or unique coffee. I also check the photos to see what the vibe is inside of the coffee shop. Is there a place for me to work if I plan on staying for a while? Does it look like they have a good espresso machine if I’m looking for a latte or cappuccino? I also see if they have single-origin coffee options and pour-over coffee. These are forms of drip coffees that are specialized and something I love.

3. Search “coffee” in google maps or your maps app.

This task may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s what I do. I choose a coffee shop near where I am, on the way to my next destination, or near the location I am heading. It all depends on how soon I want my coffee and how much time I have. The shorter amount of time I have to get to my next destination is to find a coffee shop close to that destination. Once I search for the coffee shops, I use the above criteria to make my decision. Also, make sure to look at the parking situation at the coffee shop if it looks like metered parking and be prepared to need quarters if you can’t pay with an app or a card.

4. Head to your coffee shop and enjoy!

Feel free to switch up the order you thought you wanted when you get there. I tend to get to a new coffee shop and find something unique and go with that drink instead. Go out of your comfort zone with your drink and pastry order….you maybe be happy you did!


There may not be a local coffee shop in the area you are traveling in. I have had that happen many times. The only options you may have are Starbucks or Dunkin. I try to look up coffee shops ahead of time enough to see if that is the case. If it is, pick your favorite coffee shop chain and enjoy it! I tend to pick Starbucks because of their specialty drinks and different yummy pastries.

Maria Tries Essential Oils (This isn’t a post trying to sell you something)

As I wrote this title, I could feel the eye rolls and skepticism from some of the potential readers. I am going to repeat this because it’s important: I AM NOT TRYING TO SELL YOU OILS OR ON THE CONCEPT OF THEM.

I am just here to share my experience and some of my favoriteS. If you already use oils, awesome! I hope you find this article helpful. If you don’t use them, I hope you find this helpful or you skip to another post of mine that is more up your alley.

( check out this neat traveling story if you don’t wish to continue learning about essential oils: )

I was introduced to essential oils over a year ago. I had friends tell me about them but finally found myself ordering a starter kit from Young Living last December. I liked the concept of their oils being so natural and safe. Also, Young Living owns their fields and works closely with the farmers of the fields they don’t own which I thought was neat.

I mainly used them as a candle replacement. In the starter kit I received a diffuser and from all the things I heard about candles not being good for you because of toxins, I decided to try the diffuser out. From the start, I loved mixing oils for yummy smelling blends.

In the first few months of having my kit, I got the flu, had a wild weeks long migraine, and got a severe double ear infection. In all of these scenarios the oils came to the rescue to help ease my symptoms. I used an oil called Raven for the flu and the ear infection. Raven is basically liquid Vicks that doesn’t have chemicals in it. I still used Vicks for the ear infection but it was nice swapping back and forth with something natural. Raven helped to ease ear pain and clear my sinus passages. It’s definitely not a cure for sickness but I love to use it as a Vicks replacement. It’s awesome using it in the diffuser and just straight on your chest. For my migraine, I could not get anything to actually relieve my pain. I thought scents were causing my migraine so I didn’t use my oils for two weeks. Excedrin was the only medication that gave me minor, temporary relieve. My migraine began right around the start of spring allergy season. I had heard of an allergy relieve blend of essential oils that are meant to be diffused. After a few weeks, tons of over the counter failures, and a visit to the doctor to make sure it wasn’t a sinus infection, I decided to experiment to see if my migraine was being caused by allergies. I came home from work, put the allergy blend in the diffuser ( equal parts peppermint, lemon, and lavender) and within an hour, I received the first non medication relief in weeks. After that night, my migraine decreased in intensity. Essential oils don’t always help my migraines but in some scenarios they have given me some relieve that nothing else could.

Currently, I am loving my essential oils and use them in creative and practical ways. I use a blend of oils to create a room spray to replace chemicals. I use this spray in my hotel rooms while traveling to decrease the amount of germs and as an insect repellent. I use Theives and Rosemary essential oils for immune boosting purposes during sick season. I love diffusing different oils in my office for mental stimulation like a lemon or peppermint. I also still use essential oils as a candle replacement and have done fall themed scents for my office and hotel rooms to make them feel more cozy!

Overall, oils have become a huge part of my life for natural replacements for products I have used in the past that have more unnatural ingredients. Keep a look out for some of my favorite diffuser blends article coming soon!