Exploring Maine + Family Time!

For today’s post, I thought I would switch things up a little and do a recap of my weekend in Maine! Recap posts are some of my favorites to read, mostly because I’m nosy but also because I always learn something new or find something interesting. Because I enjoy reading posts like that so much, I figured I would try a recap post of my own. I hope you enjoy reading about my busy weekend!

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My sister and I left from our house early Saturday morning. Waking up at 6:30 a.m. and sleepily piling into the car by 7:30 was not my first choice, especially for the weekend, but my sister was planning on meeting friends for a birthday celebration by 10 in the morning, so I agreed to the ungodly start time. It was raining off and on throughout our journey up to Maine, but it was relatively peaceful and calm.

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We fueled up with some delicious coffee from Dunkin Donuts. One of the newest fall flavors that Dunkin Donuts has come out with this year is Pumpkin Cold Brew, which I have really been enjoying. I order it without cream and sugar, because the sweet pumpkin flavoring adds enough sweetness for me. I highly recommend it if you’re on the lookout for a new drink this fall! As sad as it is, coffee is definitely one of those things that wakes me up in the morning, and this one in particular was just the thing I needed for an early Saturday morning.

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While my sister was joining her friends to celebrate a 21st birthday, I spent the weekend with my cousin Kati in Westbrook. My cousin Kati and I have always been pretty close, but we have definitely bonded over our health journeys more recently. Kati is the one who inspired me to start running. After seeing her push herself and meet so many amazing goals, like going from achieving success with 5Ks to even running a half-marathon (!), I was so inspired by her strength and determination. She also strives every day to be as healthy as possible. It’s always great to be close to people who care about the same things you do, and I am lucky to have found that with my cousin! We encourage each other on our journeys to be healthier, and share tips and tricks as we go.

I hadn’t seen Kati for a few weeks, so I was very excited to spend some time with her and explore some more of Maine. Kati has two cats named Chloe and Piper. No matter how many times I’ve come to visit her in her apartment, they are always scared of me! It’s something that I still haven’t figured out, considering the fact that I am probably the least scary-looking person I know. However, by the end of the weekend, Piper at least had finally warmed up to me, and was even coming over to me on her own to be pet. I consider that a success!

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After lounging for a bit watching Criminal Minds on Netflix, we decided to head out for something to eat. I was in the mood for a salad, so Kati took me to B. GOOD. B. GOOD is a chain focused on serving fresh, natural foods that you can feel good about. They serve everything from salads, kale and grain bowls, burgers, baked fries, smoothies, and milkshakes. They market themselves as a healthy fast food place, and that’s exactly how I would describe it.

I decided on the Southwest Chicken salad for my meal, while Kati went for the Spicy Avocado and Lime bowl. My salad was huuuggge and so delicious! It was filled with Arcadian greens, chicken, black beans, toasted corn, avocado, and tomatoes, and topped with chipotle puree and balsamic vinaigrette. Kati loved her meal as well, and we were completely stuffed by the end of the meal.

At the South Portland location we went to, they had fresh herbs growing that you could look at while you were in line, which I loved. Everything about the restaurant was bright and inviting, and I really enjoyed the fresh flavors in my salad.

I would recommend checking it out if you’re in the Portland area, but since it is a chain, definitely check out the website and see if there is a location near you! I had no idea that there was one in Concord, and I am excited to try that location out sometime soon.  So often we are rushing here and there during the day and end up going with greasy fast foods for lunch or dinner, but this is a great option because it’s both quick and healthy!

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After our great lunch, we decided to head to the Maine Mall for some retail therapy. As far as malls go, the Maine Mall in South Portland is one of my favorites, because it’s so big and full of so many different places you can check out.

We went to Sephora, and while I didn’t want to spend that much money, I of course ended up spending $65 on a new moisturizer. I decided on the Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer. According to the Sephora website, this moisturizer claims to be a hydrating moisturizer that infuses skin with high-potency, advanced vitamin C to fight the first signs of aging while providing powerful antioxidant support. Now at age 25, I’m not necessarily concerned with my skin aging for now, but I have heard so many amazing things about this product, and I wanted to try it out for myself. It smells like orange creamsicles and feels so luxurious on the skin. As someone with dry skin, I don’t mind trying out high-end products if it can help my skin look as nice as possible. I’ve only used it once since I bought it, but I already noticed that it makes my face a little more radiant, and I am excited to update you all on how I like the product with more use.

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We ended our shopping spree with a frozen yogurt treat. I went for the cookies and cream and white chocolate flavor for my frozen yogurt, and topped it with chocolate chips, Oreo cookies, M & Ms, and strawberries. While the toppings weren’t the healthiest options, the actual frozen yogurt was low in calories, so I didn’t feel too bad about indulging in a little dessert.

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After coming back to Kati’s place and watching a few more Criminal Minds episodes, we decided to make dinner. Kati has been using Hello Fresh for a while now, and she wanted to share it with me while I was visiting. If you haven’t heard of it before, Hello Fresh sends out meals every week with fresh ingredients. We decided on Beef Rice Noodle Bowls. All of the ingredients came on ice packs. Each meal comes with a detailed recipe card and has step-by-step instructions to follow. As someone who is relatively new to cooking, I loved that there were easy steps to follow.

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A lot of the ingredients came in small packages like this sriracha sauce, which I found so adorable! There were also tiny packets of peanut butter for the peanut butter sauce and the smallest bottle of white wine vinegar I’ve ever seen. I liked that all of the ingredients were exactly enough for what you needed to make the meal, because it meant that you didn’t have any random things left over.

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I’m not going to lie, this meal does not photograph well. I thought it turned out very well though, and more importantly, I really enjoyed being able to make a nice meal with my cousin. She is a much better cook than me, and I liked having a chance to learn more about cooking. Both of us said we would have never tried out this kind of meal if it hadn’t been one of the Hello Fresh recipes for that week. I definitely think it is a cool service for people to try out new foods and learn more about cooking.

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After the Hello Fresh Meal, we were ready for the most exciting recipe of the night: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins. When I think of fall, I most definitely think of all things pumpkin, and I was excited to try out this awesome recipe.

While there are hundreds of recipes for pumpkin muffins on Pinterest, Kati found this one at http://onelittleproject.com/chocolate-chip-pumpkin-muffins/. This recipe was short and simple, and all of the photos included made me eager to try it out for myself.

Earlier in the day, Kati had decided to splurge on Ghirardelli chocolate chips, and we certainly made great use of them! We put tons of them in the mix itself, and then added a few more chocolate chips to each muffin before baking.

The muffins came out moist and flavorful, and the chocolate chips were gooey and sweet. I probably ate more of them than I should have, but I’m not even sorry about it. I’m excited to make this recipe again for my family sometime soon. It put me in the fall mood for sure and was the perfect way to end a weekend night.

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On Sunday, after having a nice meal out at the Egg and I in Westbrook and meeting back up with my sister, all three of us traveled up to Fryeburg for the annual Fryeburg Fair. Fairs are a huge part of life up here in New England, but I had never been to the one in Fryeburg, so I was interested to check it out. It was huge! There were so many different vendors, rides, and fair food to check out. Kati took full advantage of all of the local products and came away with great finds like homemade fudge, yummy jam, and local sea salt.

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With so many areas to check out, it was almost overwhelming, but my sister and I did find these maple whoopie pies at the Kinney’s Sugarhouse booth. My sister described it as biting into a sweet pancake, and that is exactly what it tasted like. It was so fun discovering all of these new products that I never would have heard about had it not been for the fair.

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The vendors were fun to check out, but what I love most about going to the fair is all of the delicious fair food. We went for lo mein and garlic chicken, fresh french fries, gyros, and my favorite: fried dough. There is absolutely nothing clean about any of these, but you have to splurge a little when you go the fair. I felt like all we did was eat different fair foods for hours, but I loved it. I’m a little sad that I missed the Deerfield Fair this weekend, but it was amazing checking out Fryeburg and visiting a place I normally wouldn’t.

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It was an action-packed, fun-filled weekend, and I loved being able to spend time with my cousin in Maine. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures. Do you enjoy these kinds of posts? Let me know if you’d like me to do more in the future, it was so fun to put together and I would love to share my travels with all of you!

Love,

Sara

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