Post Author: Rachel
This is a super simple cookie recipe and a great healthy alternative! It’s also perfect if you need to use some bananas that are about to go bad. We had a few bananas that were just about past their prime, so I went to Pinterest to find some recipes I could throw together.
Here's what you need...
- 1 ripe Banana
- 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
- 1/2 tsp Agave
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- 1/3 cup Coconut Flour
- 2 scoops Further Food Collagen
At the last second, I also decided to add some cinnamon on top!
Side note - I have been using Further Food Collagen in everything! If you'd like to order some, use the discount code "RACHELSANTSCHI".
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mash banana in bowl
3. Thoroughly mix peanut butter, agave and vanilla with mashed banana
4. Slowly add in coconut flour and collagen mixing well
5. Form into walnut sized balls on baking sheet
6. With a fork, flatten each piece and sprinkle cinnamon on top
7. Place in oven and bake 10-15 minutes
YUM! Hope you enjoy these as much as we have!
Post Author: Grace
Happy Monday and Memorial Day! We are so thankful for all of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We hope everyone has a chance to reflect on the meaning of today and enjoy time surrounded by family and friends.
Rach and I are enjoying one of our favorite times of the year - when the entire family gets together and spends a week away on vacation. It's a time to catch up, rest, laugh like crazy and connect, not to mention it's always at a surprise location.
Our calendars are all crazy, we're spread out across the country and we don't always see each other for holidays. So each year we all find a week, save up, and take a trip together. Each Christmas morning mom and dad give us a postcard to reveal that year's location. This year - GRAND CAYMANS!
I haven't been on a beach trip in two years and it got me thinking, what are some must-haves for the beach? After getting some things together (I'm an early packer), I compiled a list of must haves that I think everyone should have before they leave for the beach.
1. Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
If you are anything like me, then you can't stand the smell of bug spray. It's a necessary evil though, so when I saw that there were cute little bracelets I thought it was a much better option!
2. Texturizing Spray
Texturizing spray is awesome for when you are at the beach! Your hair naturally wants to have a wave because of the sea salt and this is that extra boost for those waves! Enjoy not having to do your hair!
You always need a koozie, even if you are just drinking water! It will keep your drinks cold and you refreshed. Wouldn’t it be fun though get some fun custom made ones for the entire family?
4. Ziplock Bags
I know what you are thinking, boring! But these will save you so much trouble. We always put our phones, food, jewelry, etc in little ziplock bags to keep them safe from water and sand. You will be amazed at what a difference maker something so simple is!
5. Beach Coverup
You knew I had to throw something fashionable in there! But seriously, putting dry shorts over a wet body is the most uncomfortable thing EVER! Why not get something easy to throw over your swimsuit? I love oversized shirts for coverups or little rompers.
What are your beach must haves? Comment below and let me know!
Enjoy your Memorial Day and take a moment to remember those who have given their lives to protect our country.
Post Author: Rachel
Our next stop in Australia was Melbourne! In case you missed the first few stops on our tour down under, I wrote about our adventures in Sydney and in Cairns earlier this month.
We arrived in Melbourne around 2 p.m. We took the SkyBus, which is much more affordable than a taxi. The bus dropped off in the heart of Melbourne at the Southern Cross station, which was right across the street from our Aribnb. We just dropped our bags and started exploring the city.
We were so hungry after traveling all day, we immediately went looking for a good restaurant. Get this - we went to multiple restaurants and bars, but found that most places do not serve food until 5 p.m. What?! They all serve alcohol, but no food. We finally found a place called Nando's, which is an Australian chain, but it was new to us and was the only place with food so we grabbed a table and chowed down!
After lunch, our next stop was at the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, basically a giant enclosed ferris wheel that slowly takes you up and around so you get a view of the entire city. We couldn't have picked a better time to do this because it was not busy and only a handful of other people were in line. We got our own pod to take in the city together! It's a huge pod with an in-cabin audio recording, in English, talking about the city, it's history and pointing out landmarks.
After seeing the magnificent city of Melbourne from above, we walked through the city to take in all the details of the architecture and the sights and the sounds of the culture. We discovered a really delicious gelato and ice cream shop across from the Star and tried as many flavors as they’d let us. They were all so incredible!
Walking off the abundance of gelato was imperative, so we strolled down to the water front to check out the amazing views of the city and the yachts docked nearby. We also stopped by a local market for some snacks, a few items for dinner and a couple bottles of wine before heading back to our Airbnb to get some laundry started.
At this point in the trip, we had already worn everything we packed, so we needed some fresh clothes...desperately! We made sure to book Airbnbs with washers and dryers specifically because we had chosen to limit our packing to what fit in two easy to carry backpacks and knew we'd need to do laundry every few days.
But if you have to spend an evening doing laundry, do it while sipping a glass of wine and overlooking the lights of Melbourne! Stunning!
We booked an all day bus tour on Melbourne Boutique Tours through Wildlife Tours and it was phenomenal from start to finish! We were picked up in the morning on a 15 passenger van and our driver was an absolute pro. He was super friendly, made a point of learning our names within the first few minutes, was professional and shared tons of information about every place we visited.
We started with a scenic tour along the Great Ocean Road. This is one of the most famous stretches of highway in the world - very similar to Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, in California. Thousands of tourists flock to this route each year, and after experiencing it for ourselves, we completely understand what all the fuss is about.
Tip - Be sure to take some Dramamine before the start of this trip because these are very windy roads!
We spent about 90 minutes driving southwest of Melbourne, but on the way we stopped in a small town for coffee at a general store that houses some world class baristas and one of the best cups of coffee we had all trip. Delicious! We then enjoyed about two hours driving along the coastline and stopping here and there along the way for photo opportunities, to stretch our legs and take in the spectacular views.
During the next stop, our driver took us up the hill in this town called Lorne to an overlook where we caught the most breathtaking sight of the ocean and coastline. The water was an intense shade of blue and the waves were crashing along the coast - it felt like a scene from a movie; almost unreal, but remarkably beautiful.
Our small group piled back into the van and pressed on. Our next stop was in a small town where we were able to go on a short nature walk a few meters from the road. We saw a couple koalas and some cockatoos in the trees! A true Australian experience!
Next stop, the small seaside town of Apollo Bay. It was named after the ship Apollo that used to deliver goods to the port. We grabbed some lunch at the Bay Leaf Cafe, hit the restrooms, and kept rolling. At this point, we were about halfway through the journey with all the best stops still to come!
Next up, driving on mountain roads through the Great Otway National Park. We stopped for a 30 minute hike through the luscious rainforest that led to a dazzling waterfall and our guide was happy to share lots of history about the area. This section of the rainforest dates back over 300 million years and scientists say this was what Antarctica looked like prior to the Ice Age. Australia broke off from Antarctica and headed north - this piece of the forest is all that remains from those days. According to our guide, only about 5% of the original rain forest still remains as the rest has either burned via wildfires or been developed. This area is now a protected national park in hopes of conserving it for years to come.
After another 90-minute drive, we arrived to one of Australia’s most famous landmarks, The Twelve Apostles. It was an all day journey to get to Port Campbell National Park, home to the Twelve Apostles, but it was totally worth every minute. These “Apostles” are large limestone stacks that sit out in the ocean. Wind, rain, and the ocean tides have eroded away a lot of the coastline over the last 18,000 years, but these stacks still remain and, simply put, it was SUPERB seeing these awe-inspiring structures!
We also climbed down Gibson’s Steps, 94 hand carved steps in the side of a sheer cliff, that take you from the street level down to the beach below. We slipped off our shoes, put our toes in the sand and walked through the water admiring the incredible sights.
Fun fact - the Twelve Apostles were initially called the Sow and Piglets, but some marketing folks felt like a name change would increase tourism, and they were correct! This was supposed to be the tourism “off-season”, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at the parking lots. There was hardly an empty space to be found and bus after bus lined the roads with everyone trying to capture the perfect picture as the sunlight reflected off these amazing natural landscapes.
Just past the Twelve Apostles are more natural rock formations that we honestly thought were more impressive than the headline-stealing Apostles. A short distance further is the Loch Ard Gorge, which is potentially the most amazing area of nature we've ever seen. Two horseshoe shaped beaches are met by the ocean that has worked it’s way into this small bay with towering cliffs on both sides.
This area is named after a ship, the Loch Ard, that wrecked during a storm and was slammed into the side of one of these massive cliffs. Only two people survived, a 15 year old boy named Tom and a 17 year old girl named Eva. They were washed ashore and sought shelter until the next morning when Tom was able to go for help in the nearest town. He was able to lead help back to the beach to save the girl and was deemed a hero. The British government rewarded him with various accolades. As the story goes, both he and the girl went their separate ways and ended up back in the UK. Thirty or forty years later, the woman had become a doctor and, get this, was reunited with the man that saved her life, by saving his! He had become very sick and she was able to return the favor of saving his life. How there’s not a movie about this story baffles me!
By the time we loaded up and were headed back to Melbourne, it was about 6 p.m. Keep in mind, we started the day’s journey at 7 a.m.! It was a full day and we still had a 3-hour trek back to Melbourne. We got back to the city around 9 p.m. and were on a mission to find some dinner. Similar to our other struggles to find food in Melbourne, apparently most kitchens close at 8 p.m...so apparently you need to eat between 5 & 8 p.m. or you miss your chance at most places! After striking out a few times, we finally found a pub that was open and grabbed some food and a couple glasses of wine to cap off the night. A full day of driving, sight seeing and adventure, but some of the most rewarding views!
We woke up to a rainy Saturday morning and decided to venture out to find a breakfast hot spot. Taking the recommendation of some locals, we walked a few blocks in our rain jackets to a place called White Mojo, a hipster cafe in a side alley.
Side note - Melbourne has a lot of alleyways and each is filled with cute boutique shops and restaurants. The locals say it’s one of the few cities where you’re encouraged to venture down alleys!
We ordered some caffeinated artwork, or coffee as it’s commonly known, and the Big Breakfast - mac n’ cheese with bacon, cauliflower, mushrooms and a sunny side up egg, all served open face on a croissant. Could be one of the best meals we ate in Australia!
Having devoured our meal, we decided walking and burning off some calories was in order. We headed to the Queen Victoria Market, which is the largest open market in the country. It was lined with vendors selling everything from produce, to Uggs, to boomerangs and kangaroo leather hats.
This particular day there was an Indian Festival, so they had street performers teaching patrons local Indian dances, bands playing Indian music, and several food trucks and vendors selling Indian food, clothes and other products. A really cool experience to see many cultures come together at this event.
After the market, and continuing our day trying to do what the locals do, we grabbed some tickets for the Aussie Rules Football game that was at the nearby Etihad Stadium. It was the home opener for St. Kilda, the home team, and they faced the Brisbane Lions. The game is played a lot like rugby, but with a few twists. We sat by some locals who had a lot of patience answering our many questions as we tried to get up to speed on the rules of the game. By about the second quarter we started to get the hang of it. The game was a great way to get a little taste of the local culture!
Afterwards, we walked over to the market and purchased some sushi for dinner. There is a large Asian population in Melbourne and their food is incredible! We paired our sushi with a nice bottle of wine and took it back to the apartment where we ate, drank and packed our bags to prepare for a very early morning flight the next day over to New Zealand. Be on the lookout for that post next!
Post Author: Grace
'Tis the season for backyard BBQs, corn hole, and long nights on the patio. What better way to enjoy warm temps and friends than with a delicious cocktail?
Today I'm sharing a friend's recipe that she conveniently made into a magnet for the fridge! I never would have thought to do that, but because it's right in front of me, I make it all the time.
Don't be afraid to try different fruit combinations either. I like this recipe with all kinds of fruit -- summer and fruit just go together. So add whatever you want, you can't go wrong.
And, consider sharing your favorite recipes the next time you are giving a wedding gift, a housewarming gift, or an expecting mom's baby shower gift. Everybody love discovering delicious new dishes particularly if they're quick, easy and healthy!
Enjoy summer in the most refreshing way!
Happy Friday!! Let us know what you think about our picks for this Fashion Friday! Hope you all have a great weekend ahead!
Post Author: Grace
Hello friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week. Mine has been pretty slammed, but I’m trying to be consistent with my daily reading.
Typically, I get up a little earlier than I’d like to so I have some built in me-time. I use this first bit of time in the morning to read my bible, journal and pray, then I read a little of my current favorite book (I read a lot, so the current favorite is always changing).
I’ve found that starting my day with God and focusing on the blessings in my life, before I jump into my work day, is for sure a game changer.
I have discovered several new and interesting reads through one simple habit. When I meet someone new, I ask them about books they have recently read. It’s a terrific icebreaker and elicits fascinating responses.
I recently asked a client this question and she shared with me how much she loved The Go-Giver. I was intrigued and added it to my “books to read” list. However, at our next meeting, she brought a copy of the book and gifted it to me! Isn’t that just the sweetest gesture?
I’m enjoying reading it and it’s already had a huge impact on my daily life. So why is this book so awesome? Because it's definitely not your typical sales pitch book. It's all about what value you can offer to someone, not what or how can you get something from them. A refreshing philosophy, don’t you agree?
This short and entertaining read is a fictitious story about Joe, a salesman, and Pindar, a mentor, who introduces Joe to five “go-givers” that have already mastered the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.
From cover to cover it’s packed full of valuable lessons, wonderful insight and motivation and it’s challenging my mindset.
Try starting your mornings with a new book! You never know what you will learn and how you will grow as a result.
What's your favorite book right now? Please share ... I’m always on the lookout for books to add to my reading list.
Post Author: Rachel
Following up on our adventures down under, after Sydney we flew north to Cairns to explore the Kuranda and The Great Barrier Reef. It's a very hot, humid and rainy part of Australia, but still an absolute blast!
When we arrived mid-afternoon, we checked into our Airbnb, found a restaurant nearby, walked along the coastline and explored the small town. We also made a stop at the nearest grocery store to stock up.
Budget saving tip - We were really excited about some tours and excursions we had planned, but they can be a bit pricey so we stretched our budget by making breakfast and packing our own snacks and lunches when we could. At the grocery store, we picked up fruit, breakfast bars, bread, peanut butter, jelly, etc. Having coffee and breakfast at our Airbnb, saved us both time and money. Plus, with the long days we had planned while in Cairns, it was nice to have our snacks and lunch ready whenever and wherever we happened to be exploring. We were willing to trade the luxury of eating all our meals out at a restaurant for the convenience and savings of making our own.
Pictured above is the view from the Airbnb we stayed at. It was breathtakingly beautiful! Although it's sunny in this photo, I would highly recommend packing a rain jacket. We discovered that just when we were convinced it was going to be a beautifully sunshiny day, all of the sudden there'd be a 10 minute rain shower! It wasn't ever a downpour luckily, just a pesky drizzle.
Our first full day in Cairns was all about adventure! We scheduled the Kuranda Scenic Railway tour through Down Under Tours. Turns out, this was one of my favorite tours and the best tour company of the whole trip. They were phenomenal and I highly recommend them!
The bus picked us up in front of the hotel that was directly across the street from our Airbnb. After a quick bus ride to the train station, we hopped aboard for an hour long trip to Kuranda. We enjoyed some of the most magnificent views of cane fields, waterfalls and the rain forest!
Once we arrived in Kuranda, our tour guide handed us a schedule of the days events and kept us moving. First stop, the zoo area. We met up with our zoo tour guide - basically Steve Irwin - and learned about some of the incredible animals native to Australia. Plus, get this, there were kangaroos just hopping around in the open space! All the other animals were behind fences but these friendly, which is rare, kangaroos were out saying hello and eating some treats right from our hand! How awesome!?
After seeing dingoes, spiders, emus, crocodiles, wallabies and many other amazing animals we were able to hold a croc and a koala! Did I mention this tour was incredible? Because it was!
After our thrilling morning, we enjoyed a wonderful buffet lunch - it was quite the spread, with lots of really tasty choices.
When we were sufficiently stuffed, we hopped on an Army Duck for a unique view of the rain forest. Our driver was a plethora of information about the various trees, poisonous leaves, edible plants and the insects native to the area. It was all very interesting, and a little terrifying to hear about what was in the rain forest!
Back on land, we strolled to the amphitheater where we were treated to a performance of native dances by The Pamagirri Dancers. They were not only entertaining, but funny too.
We broke into smaller groups and were led by one of the natives we had just met. They showed us how to throw spears at targets, how a didgeridoo works, and even taught us how to throw a boomerang ... it's surprisingly more challenging than you'd think, but fun!
So much adventure, but we weren't done yet. Next, we caught a bus for a quick ride to the gondola where we got an entirely new view of the incredible sights from above. On our way down, we were able to hop on and off the gondola to explore different parts of the rain forest. The waterfalls were massive and magnificent and the foliage was beautiful. We also saw lots of very strange insects.
I can't say enough great things about this tour. It far exceeded our expectations and was an absolute blast!
As you can imagine, by evening we were wiped out. Back at our Airbnb, we made sandwiches for dinner, enjoyed a glass of wine and relaxed. A good night's sleep had us ready to hit the ground running for Day Two.
Another full day on the agenda! We woke up early, had our smaller backpacks packed, sunscreen on and met up with our tour bus for our Great Barrier Reef adventure! The bus took us to the pier where we boarded a boat and made our way out to the reef, about a 45 minute boat ride.
Tip - bring Dramamine. This was a LIFESAVER for us! We popped some Dramamine while we were on the bus in preparation for the long boat ride ahead and it definitely saved us from feeling sick on the water.
The Great Barrier Reef is unquestionably one of the world's most fascinating destinations. Imagine pristine blue water filled with colorful reef and equally beautiful marine life. Simply gorgeous!
It was a fun-filled day! We snorkeled, spent time at the beach and took a tour on a semi-submarine boat!
Take a look at the gallery below for all the photos, which by the way, don't even begin to do it justice.
We had a great time on this tour, but realized that if we could do it again, we would scuba dive so we could see more of the coral and fish. Still an amazing experience though.
That evening we were craving some American food and we found a place off the pier called "Howlin Jay's" featuring some of Nashville's Hot Chicken! We grabbed a couple of beers, some hot chicken and enjoyed kicking back and listening to the lull of the waves rolling in.
After dinner, we wandered around the small town once again, enjoying the sights and the sounds before heading back to our room to pack. The next morning, we headed down south to Melbourne. That blog post is coming soon!
Thanks for coming along with me to Cairns and enjoy the gallery of pics below.
Happy Friday!! Hope you all had a great week!
Enjoy your weekend and our Fashion Friday picks!
My boots are from Nigros Western Store. Ask for David Jr. He's super helpful and will order anything you need! They are my absolute favorite boots! I also wore them on my wedding day. :)
As warmer weather approaches and we head into the summer season, I want to share with you my top 5 picks for summer trends! I can guarantee you I will be sporting all of these looks this summer!
1. The Wrap
Yes, the wrap is BACK! And I am all for it. Paired with some cute kicks and you’ve got an easy, effortless look that will have heads turning.
2. The Portofino
First off, I love that they call it the portofino. How fancy! But honestly, I’m loving the fit of these shirts paired with high waisted shorts or pants.
3. The Birkenstocks
I know, I know. You think I’m crazy for thinking the birks are cute again but I can’t resist! They are comfortable and look so good with a distressed pant and t-shirt. Just try it!
4. The Linen Overalls
I am seeing these everywhere! The best part is that they feel like jammies and look so cute with a striped t-shirt. Who doesn’t love comfort??
5. The Bandana Top Knot
This is one of my favorite trends this year. I love how simple and effortless it is, yet always looks good. Grab a small scarf and give it a whirl!
What are your top picks for this summer? Share in the comments below!
Would you turn down a chance to try some mouthwatering Italian food? Me neither! I recently had the chance to visit Tavernonna Italian Kitchen, a farm to table restaurant, located inside Hotel Phillips in downtown KC. This place has great ambiance, an elegantly modern atmosphere with a cozy vibe, exceptional staff and amazing Italian cuisine. They recently invited local media members and social influencers to test out some of the new specialty items on their spring menu.
As you can see from the menu above, we had the chance to try some exquisite dishes. We also taste tested a number of drinks and we were wowed; all wonderfully flavorful and refreshing. Also, I must say, everything was beautifully and creatively served, but the taste was even better!
These pasta dishes were out of this world! At Tavernonna's, Executive Chef Bryant Wigger creates these true Italian meals from fresh and locally sourced ingredients. I savored every incredibly flavorful bite.
In the photo above, the dish on the left is the Nettle Casarecce and on the right is the Spaghetti with wild ramps, focaccia bread crumbs and black pepper pecorino. Two fan favs, for sure!
The top photo is the Thyme Basted Scallops with caramelized cipollini, faro risotto, celery leaf gremolata, and bully porter sumo. It was scrumptious!
The photo above is the Alaskan Halibut with fregola, pancetta, sweet peas, tendril pesto and it was sitting in a beet sauce. For me, it was a surprisingly delicious combination - who would have thought beet sauce would make such a great base.
Dessert, oh my goodness, was equally wonderful! The perfect ending - gelato and espresso.
Everything was soooooo good, it was hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to chose, I'd say the Bruschetta - goat cheese always gets my love - and the Nettle Casarecce. YUM!
A fantastic experience, for sure, and the food and drinks were exceptional. Also, parking is validated at Hotel Phillips for all Tavernonna customers.
I'd highly recommend giving the spring menu a try for yourself. You'll be glad you did!
Enjoy your weekend!
For more of our looks, check out our new Pinterest page!
Happy Wednesday, y'all!
My best friend happens to own a salon here in Nashville. Lucky me! She’s my go to expert for all things hair and I have learned so much from her. Her guidance has really helped revive my once damaged locks and I’m much more in love with my stronger, shinier, healthier-looking hair.
She’s even convinced me to wash less frequently, use minimal heat and let my hair air-dry whenever possible. Gotta admit though, I love my flatiron. But because I trust my sweet friend to never steer me in the wrong direction, I really don't use it as often as I used to and it HAS made a difference.
So today I am sharing her top 5 salon products with you. I promise these will be game changers! So check them out and while you’re at it, schedule an appointment at The Village Salon. You’ll get the best service and amazing products!
This hair refresher is the best I’ve ever tried. It's super light, it doesn't look chalky and absorbs oil well. It leaves the hair fresh without an overpowering smell. Trust me, you want this!
This All In One Milk has a delicious smell and keeps my hair soft, tame and shiny. Bonus: It has heat protection so I'm breakage free! Majorly important for someone who is putting heat on their hair.
The Melu Shampoo gently cleanses while also strengthening hair. It leaves your hair feeling light & fresh.
This alchemic conditioner is lightweight and has the perfect blue lavender tone to eliminate any brassy color that blondes tend to get in the summer. This is a must have for me.
This mousse, my all time favorite for any hairstyle, is easy to apply, gives amazing volume and feels weightless and soft. All day volume keeps this girl happy!
If you live in Nashville, give the The Village Salon a try and tell them Grace sent you. I promise this place will change your hair life!
What are your favorite salon products? Share below!