Chasing Davies

March 21, 2020

Amazon It List: Quarantined Edition


It is a weird, scary, anxious time for all on planet earth right now.  Without getting too much into my feelings about it all (at this time), I wanted to share some items that are helping us get through our quarantined life (or those that I'm ordering and considering due to to our new found life of doing everything from home). 

As of now, Amazon is still shipping, so here is my "Quarantined Edition" of the Amazon it List!  

My tip for handling deliveries in this time: open deliveries outside, throw/recycle packaging away outside, then wipe down contents with lysol before bringing into your home. As always, wash your hands when done.
Life At Home 

Not sure about you, but we have stocked up on freezer goods or freezing fresh produce (more than canned foods) so that we can keep eating the fruits, veggies, meats and meals we're used to as much as possible throughout this time. We currently don't have a secondary freezer, and not a lot of space to store one, so I have done some research on small options!

Extra small (that locks, so kids stay out), small and small chest

With lots of home time, my kids are spending a ton more time in comfy clothes (including pajamas). These jammies are adorable, super soft, come in many clothes and with and without ruffled edges and Nora loves this lightweight leopard sweatshirt (great for transition from winter to spring).

During this first week of quarantine, both my kids turned to art a ton. Which I loved. I'm getting some art craft supplies to fuel the next month (?!).

And me? I'm just surviving with my at home coffee situation (I have a full review here), and snacking on these healthy candies

Home Work Life

I know a great deal of you are now working from home and being a stay at home parents - and that's a whole lot of work all at once. We're starting to find our new groove here. But what I still need to figure out is a better longer-than-we-wish solution for a better and more comfortable work space.

You can turn any surface into a desk space with this multifunctional desk pad (a la my dining room table).

And one thing I've learned from working from home 6 days in a row... I miss my office chair/standing desk.  My back and neck hurt.  This chair is very reasonable and highly rated, and this one comes in a cool grey color. But what I'm really contemplating is this standing computer stand on wheels (I can roll it away from my kids!).

Now that I'm starting at screens even more (especially with my social life also exclusively through screens), I'm finally caving on getting some blue blocking glasses.

Stay Healthy

not 100% sold that vitamins do a TON, but they can't hurt. From the research I've read, Vitamin D is super important to support your immune system, and there is some rising research on elderberry. So both me and the kids are leveraging those (adult elderberry one and this kids version also has vitamin d + zinc included)!

Also helping me both mentally and physically is home workouts. There is NO shortage of free working resources online. I honestly love searching YouTube and doing yoga and cardio classes and finding strengthening moves. Some of my favorite local studios have started live streaming, too (I did a yoga class via Zoom with Darling Yoga, and loved that).

Here are some of my favorite home workout equipment (don't need a ton!):

What it saving you on Amazon in this time?

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March 10, 2020

Two Days in Lisbon, Portugal


Lisbon, a must. We threw this city on to the end of our Italian adventure (a few days in Rome and another few days in southern Italy) on a whim - and because the Portugal (TAP) airline we were taking home had to stop there anyway and offered a stop over program.  With no expectations or major must-hits, we did a bit of research in order to maximize our two days, but otherwise, set out to just wander and explore. Overall, we were completely impressed!

Day One

We stayed in a simple, but very nice (clean!) apartment that was either walking distance or a short Uber ride to just about everywhere.  So once we arrived and dropped our bags, we set out to wonder. We actually followed along Rick Steve's (free) audio tour, "Lisbon City Walk" which was a great way to get acquainted with the city and see some hot spots right away.

Part of this walk led us along the Tagus River and to the most amazing yellow square (I love yellow!), where I was immediately smitten.  This square, called Praça do Comércio, but also referred to as Terreiro do Paço, and is where the statue of King José is (quite magnificent). 

There are some cute restaurants with patio seating, sidewalk vendors and food stands along the river in this area. As we walked, we stumbled upon a food tasting event and I got the most amazing mini-pot pie type snack (last picture above).  This was my first sign that I might have been underestimating the food of Lisbon.

Later on, we wondered around more looking for dinner. Mostly, I would recommend reservations - as a lot of good places were booked up, but we got lucky and were able to sit at the bar of a well-rated restaurant, Oficio, which was amazing. I'm not sure how they cooked their veggies, but it was the most amazing roasted veggies I've ever had.

Otherwise, other famous Lisbon items are cod and cheese! So we had more of that, too!

Day Two

The next morning we hit the ground running for the ultimate tourist day. First we went to Belém Tower, which did require an Uber as it's a bit further out of the city. We had breakfast and coffee at the cafe near by over looking the tower and then wondered up close to it. We went on a Monday, which is when the tour is closed to tours/inside visit, so we didn't get to go inside.

We decided to do the longer walk back to the downtown area, walking by the Lisbon Cathedral (which was also closed on the Monday we were there, but it was beautiful from the outside!).

We did a ton of walking this day - and after walking from the Cathedral, we headed to the area of Castelo de S. Jorge!  There was a fast moving line, but lots of little shops and restaurants around for a snack while in line.

Once inside the Castle, the views are amazing. So many different vantage points to get a real good look at colorful Lisbon.

 After all the exploring and walking... we sat down to eat cheese, and more cheese and drink some wine. The weather was perfect and views relaxing after the long day on foot. Lisbon loves their white cheese! :)

On our way back to our airbnb apartment, we hit up a DIY wine tasting style place back in the yellow square (Praça do Comércio), Wines of Portugal Tasting Room.  This place was cool because it was super laid back and you could drink what you wanted at your own pace. We tried a few before getting back for a quick rest before dinner.

After a long day of walking and seeing all the major things, we had another GREAT dinner at Versiculo. I stuck to the tried and true of Lisbon veggies, since they were so amazing the night before, and got the grill veggies on a skewer (also came with toasted almond rice) - and they were wonderful!

 Day Three 

Our last day of vacation with a few hours left in Lisbon before our flight, we spent the morning walking around, riding the trolly to see the rest of the city and grabbing breakfast. 

We left Lisbon super impressed and ready to come back again on another stop over if it ever made sense.  And after a full 10 days, we were ready to get home.

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February 18, 2020

Two Months with Home Lattes!

After a lot of research and a lot of talking, I finally got a Nespresso and Breville milk frother (both on sale!) and built a little coffee nook in my kitchen to make my own lattes at home.  I've had other coffee makers in the past that have just never cut it, and my Starbucks habit was getting out of hand.  

What I really wanted, and how I take my coffee is a shot (or sometimes two) of espresso with steamed milk (and milk alternatives). But I also didn't want a big, messy espresso machine that was too much work to maintain or too long to prepare each morning (as I'm running out the door 5 minutes late).

Many review sites later, talking to friends and trying their different machines I landed on the Nespresso De'Longhi with original pods (they are cheaper than the vertuo pods) that is slim enough to not take up a ton of space, but has a reserve of water on the backside so I don't have to fill it every time.  I love how fast the machine heats up (25 seconds!) to make my quick espresso (there is also a coffee "lungo" option).

Another important component to making a latte - a milk frother (and warmer!).  I did a ton of research on this, too, and Breville brand was the best hands down.  The Breville BMF600XL Milk Cafe Milk Frother is as easy as a push of a button to getting the perfect milk froth. And you can make a single to a few cups worth at one time. 

Both of these machines have lived up to the research hype and my expectations. In fact, after two solid months of drinking a homemade latte 6 times a week, I grabbed a Starbucks while out running errands last week and was appalled.  The taste was bitter and almost-burnt tasting. I wasn't used to that, and must say, my homemade lattes have been super smooth.

I've tried oat milk, dairy milk and almond milk - all work well with different frothing amounts pending the milk. I even played with using chocolate almond milk for a chocolate latte. I added cinnamon and a bit of vanilla to the milk, too.

The Breville frother comes with a cappuccino and latte (or hot cocoa) blender so you can control the froth (more with the cappuccino blender). 

For the most efficient latte making (again, as I'm running out the door), I have my little station with my machines on a tray with my cups (both mugs and to-go) right above and the Nespresso original pods right below. I also keep the Nespresso bag in that drawer to send my used pods back in which they recycle. 

With your Nespresso machine, they send you a sample pack of pods. And my first order, I ordered a variety to find my favs. So far, I'm loving the Vanilo, and when I want a stronger kick - the Ristretto is their dark, intense blend.  I strongly recommend the flavored variety and best sellers sample packs for a better variety (or to learn what your favs are).

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