Friday Five

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for me to gush about my favorite things of the week again! This week I’m excited, because I have a lot to talk about with you guys.

1. Covergirl Foundations

I have tried a lot of foundations. From high end to drugstore, they all work for a while, then irritate my skin to no end. We’re not talking acne here. We’re talking full on rashes, hives, and horrible itching. This is generally considered “not good” by the majority of the population, so that leaves me with skin that looks funky and no way to cover it.

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Enter my three new best friends in the makeup world. Covergirl NatureLuxe liquid foundation in 305, and Covergirl Sensitive Skin powder and liquid foundation in 210 (powder) and 205 (liquid).

I’m not sure why my face color varies so widely in these three foundations, especially two of them seem like they should be identical, but I really don’t care. These aren’t breaking me out, they look flawless, and they’re cheap too! Seriously, nothing better.

2. Beet Salad

I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve fallen even more in love with this, if that’s possible. Each week I get to pick out one “treat” at the grocery store. This week I picked out a pint of local beet salad!

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Goat cheese, mandarin oranges, and local root veggies. What could be better? Well, not eating all of it at once and freaking out that your pee turns neon pink, probably. (Am I allowed to talk about that on a blog? Well, I just did.) Other than the unfortunate side effects of consuming large amounts of these bright veggies, this has probably been the highlight of my week.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar.

Great for digestion. Great for your skin. Apparently great in fresh juices with a little bit of ginger, too. Need I say more?

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(Speaking of juice, I just found out that my watermelon juice habit is actually good for me. Watermelon has a ton of iron, which is great because I am always lacking iron. Plus it’s pretty, too!)

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4. NYX matte lipstick in “Nude.”

I’m almost ashamed to admit is, as someone who talks about makeup as much as I do. Out of all the fabulous lipsticks I have collected over the years, I did not previously own a true nude.

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I cleaned out my makeup drawer earlier this week, which meant a lot of swatching and a lot of “keep or ditch” conversations with friends. During my total overhaul of my lipstick collection, I noticed that I had a ton of fun winter colors, but nothing to transition into fall! I had to fix this.

So I am now the proud owner of Nyx’s “Nude” matte lipstick. I’ve worn it twice since I got it this week and I’ve gotta say, it’s fantastic.

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5. Desserts.

Okay, this is a broad category, but let’s be real. When I was little, sweets were the last thing I wanted out of a meal. Now? This is my first time admitting it, but I love sweets. Macarons, cheesecake, frozen hot chocolate, I love it all. Which is why it made my week when my husband surprised me with this treat:

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Yep, you’re seeing this right! Frozen hot chocolate from a local chocolatier, and macarons that combined two of my favorite things- dessert and Earl Grey! Do I have the best husband or what?

So what are you loving this week?

Juices: my latest obsession.

I have to drink a lot of liquid every day. I’m pretty good about it, really! I have about two liters of water a day, sometimes more if I’m feeling especially POTSie. The only problem I have is my undying hatred for plain water. I just don’t like it! I drink it, sure, but I’m always looking for some other ways to get my liquid intake up.

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I allow myself one glass of earl grey or green tea a day, because I can’t handle very much caffeine. Sometimes I add in an herbal tea, like Chamomint Moon by Higgins and Burke. It’s a nice change from plain water, and I’ve already talked about how warm beverages make me concentrate better. (It’s a mental thing, I know.)

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Lately though? I’m loving these fresh juices from Grocery Bar. This week, lemonade with cucumber was on sale for two dollars, as was watermelon juice. That’s a great price for fresh, cold-pressed juices, so I picked a few up. They were awesome, and I might have replaced breakfast with them a few times when my stomach just wasn’t feeling up to real food. After I finished them, my husband and I headed back to pick up a few more while they were still on sale.

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While we were there, I saw the Juice of the Day and knew I had to try it out. It was a mix of carrot, apple, orange, and ginger. I’ve been a fan of carrot-apple juice for years, so this was right up my alley. It was $7, which still fit in my budget, so that was pretty neat.

I love the packaging of these juices. The glass jars and minimalist logo are absolutely adorable, and I’ve repurposed them in my house as flower vases. A single long stem daisy in each of the bottles in a row in the window is a cute look and a great way for me to recycle!

If you’re in the Chattanooga area, and you want fresh juice, check out The Grocery Bar! I’m also looking for the guy who does juice from a bicycle, which seems like a really cool concept even if I can’t remember the name of his business right now.

Since I hate smoothies, juice is the next best thing when it comes to nutrients! I’m loving fresh juice as a water alternative, and just in general. Who’s with me??

Grocery Bar, Chattanooga, TN

Southside in Chattanooga, Tennessee, used to be a food desert. To fight the influx of fast food restaurants and convenience stores moving in to take advantage of the lack of healthy food, Enzo’s Grocery was born. Enzo’s enjoyed moderate success as a neighborhood grocery, but attracted few customers outside of the area. In June, it was announced that my favorite grocery was closing it’s doors. Luckily for Enzo’s- and for me- a group of investors stepped in and Enzo’s rebranded itself as Grocery Bar.

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Grocery Bar is a neighborhood grocery driven and directed by chefs. Although they still have a grocery section, the real focus here is on prepared foods. Between a sushi bar, a sandwich and pizza bar, a juice bar, and cold and hot deli selections, there appears to be something for everyone at this new Southside staple.

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I’ve been to Grocery Bar twice since it opened under the new name, and I’ve been impressed both times.

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My husband and I stopped at Grocery Bar to pick up some food for a date night picnic. We were short on time, so we didn’t order from the kitchen, although I want to check out the juice bar soon. We headed straight for the hot and cold deli foods. Grocery Bar has the ingredients of each dish labeled and indicates if the item is gluten free, vegan, or vegetarian. It also indicates which, if any, of the ingredients are local.

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Food at the Grocery Bar is $8.99/lb from any of the self-serve stands, which is the same as the Whole Foods across town. However, Whole Foods doesn’t source their food locally, which is always a source of contention when the store is surrounded by so many great farms.

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Isn’t that beet salad gorgeous? We left with four pounds of food and devoured all of it.

If you’re into deli style food, or are looking for something to grab for a picnic, check out the Grocery Bar. While you’re there, try the samples of local produce and cheeses that are set up around the store.

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I look forward to seeing where Grocery Bar goes in the future and I wish it continued success. However, wishing is not enough for small groceries like this, so I will be spending my money here as well.

Touring My Own City

I love road trips. My friends and I have explored every back road within six hours of our hometown, usually in the middle of the night, with country music blaring from the speakers and Double Cola sitting in the cupholders. Once, we had a whole pumpkin pie in the backseat and a pound of pecans rolling beneath our feet. 

Unfortunately, we’re all adults now and we can’t head out on a wild adventure every single weekend. How are we supposed to get that summer travel urge out if we can’t hop in the car and drive straight to the river every time we want? This summer, we’ve decided to explore our own city more. We went to most of the sites when we were younger, but they’ve faded out of our memory and changed a lot- usually for the better, a few for the worse. (Seriously, why did Fairyland tear down the awesome playground with the wood and metal slides? I tear up just thinking about all the fun that was lost with the removal of the best playground ever.)

Today, the fiance and I had a few hours before he needed to be at work. We decided to pack a picnic and hit up one of my favorite spots as a kid- Coolidge Park and Northshore.

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Since I was little, they’ve added a new park beside Coolidge, known as “Renaissance Park.” Renaissance Park was our picnic destination, because it’s less crowded than Coolidge, despite being attached to it. Renaissance Park features a wetland, several sculptures, a reproduction Civil War ammunition bunker, and some hills that are encapsulating old industrial waste from Chattanooga’s not-so-distant dirty past. The hills have become popular spots for kids to slide down on flattened cardboard boxes- in the South, that’s as close as we get to sledding. 

As Chattanooga is getting more and more dog friendly, we brought our rescue dog and our foster dog with us to enjoy the spring weather. We met several other dog owners in Renaissance Park, and there were plenty of places offering recycled grocery bags for people to pick up after their dogs. 

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After our picnic, we walked through Coolidge Park. The carousel was going, and children were running around climbing on the animal statues surrounding the fountain. It’s still a little chilly for kids to play in the fountain, but come May, the fountain will be filled with screaming kids and the occasional exasperated parent. 

Northshore, where Coolidge is located, has undergone a revitalization recently, with an emphasis on local food, drink, and other businesses. There are plenty of great boutique shops lining Coolidge Park, and some awesome restaurants. From pizza, to sushi, to hot dogs, Northshore appears to have a bit of everything. You’re sure to find something you want there- the hot dog place, Good Dog, even offers some seriously good gluten-free options. They also have specials throughout the week, and a pretty decent Thirsty Thursday. If we hadn’t brought our own picnic, I would have stopped in for some of their fries and a brunch dog, but alas, not today.

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One of the big draws of Northshore is the Market Street Walking Bridge, one of the famous Four Bridges in Chattanooga. It claims to be the longest walking bridge in North America, and it probably is, if we don’t count a certain bridge I used to walk across in Missouri that was definitely longer. From Market Street Bridge, you can view the Chattanooga skyline, both riverboats, and a nature preserve island. A drama was unfolding on the nature preserve island today, as two girls had gotten trapped on the island after their canoe floated off. EMTs and the Coast Guard arrived blaring sirens, but I promise, the bridge is usually much calmer.

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The only problem you may have with Northshore is the parking. All parking is owned by Republic Parking, and it can get expensive. It’s worth parking directly behind the row of shops at Coolidge, as the cheapest parking is there and the machines are turned off for weekends after 4:30 pm. The parks, especially Coolidge, get crowded during peak “outdoors” hours in the warmer months, and the restaurants do too. 

Northshore is not the Northshore I remember from my childhood. It’s matured and localized over the years. I appreciate the efforts to make it greener and more dog-friendly, offer more local food and products, and appeal to everyone. Some of the shops are a little hipster-heavy, but others are family-friendly, leading to an interesting blend of patronage of the area. 

All in all, Chattanooga seems to be moving past it’s past industrial days. It’s going to be interesting visiting all my favorite childhood sites, and hopefully finding some new hangouts. The dogs are going to enjoy our exploring too, since there are more places they can go than ever before.