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Worth a Buy or a Try? January 2021 Recap

Cheers to a new year! 2021 brings us plenty more opportunity to try new things whether it be products, restaurants, recipes or experiences. I thought I would do a recap of each month this year that includes my opinion on new items or experiences I purchased and if I thought it was worth a buy or a try. My hope is for you to find new products you might love or some restaurants that peak your interest! Without further ado, let’s get into the January 2021 recap!


Product Purchases

1. French Vanilla Power Crunch Bars (Amazon)

Holy smokes, this little tasty treat is by far my favorite protein bar of all time. I hate when protein bars have a chemical after taste or are texturally chewy and dense. This bar, especially the French vanilla flavor, does not have a chemical after taste and is super airy and crunchy. It very much reminds me of a vanilla wafer but with protein. YUM! 220 calories, 13g Fat, 11g Carb and 14g Protein.

Is it worth a buy? 10/10 yes! You can buy a whole pack from amazon way cheaper than if you buy them individually from the store. Also keep in mind this bar is higher in fat than many other protein bars however, it is quite lower in carbs. So if you’re not afraid of fats, definitely give this a try! PRO TIP: keep them in the freezer!! I’m not kidding, eating them straight from the freezer is like having yourself a nice little dessert.

2. Samsung T5 Portable External Hard Drive (Amazon)

As I’ve gotten more serious about blogging, I’ve come to the realization that this means I have and will accumulate a bunch of photos. Now a computer only has so much storage and as you fill it up, your computer slows down. To avoid this, I started looking into external hard drives to store my photos on. 

I went through some of my favorite bloggers’ blog posts about how they organize thier photos and a few of them mentioned this hard drive. It’s small, fast, sturdy and comes with a couple of different adapters depending on what kind of computer you have.

Is it worth it? So far, yes. It does exactly what I need it to do, store photos. I like how it’s small so as I accumulate hard drives, they won’t take up too much space. I do wish it came with a little case for extra protection but I’m sure I can find a safe spot for it as I travel. And as always, make sure you have an additional back up such as Dropbox for your photos! All external hard drives have the potential to fail. It’s best practice to have two different backups of your phots at all times.

3. Brita Premium Filtering Bottle Stainless Steel 32oz (Amazon)

Welp, the time finally came. My all-purpose re-usable water bottle I’ve had for years finally broke. The rubber seal on the bottom started to leak and there was no saving that guy. I was officially in the market for a new reusable water bottle last month. Of course, I moseyed on over to Amazon and started making my way through pages of water bottles. 

This Brita water bottle caught my eye immediately. I have a Brita at home that I love and I had always used it to fill up my huge 64oz water bottle before I went anywhere. And I mean literally anywhere. You never know if people actually change their refrigerator water filter regularly or if you might get stuck drinking tap water (gross). So as a precaution I always filled up before going anywhere.

Imagine my happiness when I came across this filtering Brita water bottle! So long are the days or worrying about drinking tap water without any kind of filter. The Brita water bottle filter clips to the straw and you have fresh filtered water with every sip you take!

This bottle keeps my water cold for quite a long time and according to Brita, each filter can replace up to 300 disposable plastic water bottles! They also recommend replacing the filter about once every three months. 

So, is it worth a buy? 100% yes! I love this thing. I take it to work, the gym and I sleep with it on my bedside table. Unfortunately, it is not dishwasher safe but a quick scrub every couple days doesn’t bother me. I will also say, the straw does take a little more effort to suck water out than a regular water bottle. But of course this is to be expected when there’s a filter attached. You get used to it. 

4. Thorne Super EPA Fish Oil EPA and DHA (Click here)

 I finally decided to jump on the fish oil bandwagon. Fish oil was actually recommended by my facialist who said it has helped other clients with dehydrated skin. As well with other possible benefits; joint health, brain health, heart health and metabolism I was down to give it a shot. After talking with my doctor about supplements, she recommended Thorne products. With any supplement, you want high quality ingredients and Thorne has just that. 

Also, disclaimer, I am no means a health expert, but always ask your doctor before taking supplements! Taking supplements when they’re not needed is just a waste of money and do nothing for you.

Is it worth a buy? I’m not sure yet. I’ve noticed a bit of difference in my skin. It definitely feels a bit more hydrated and my hair a bit softer. As for joint health and heart health? I have no idea. Not quite sure how to measure those ones but hopefully they have an effect! However, I do notice a difference in my skin so that’s enough for me to keep ordering. 

5. Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer Moisturizing Primer (Sephora or Ulta)

This is my go-to primer for summer, winter, spring and fall. Yes, even summer. I have what a dermatologist would call dehydrated skin. Yes, I drink enough water and yes, I use hydrating skincare however, my skin is always wanting something a little more. This moisturizing primer was the perfect addition to my makeup routine. 

I do my skincare as usual and then add this primer as my last step before foundation. Hello one of my favorite beauty ingredients, hyaluronic acid! So hydrating, so beautiful. But be careful, a little goes a long way! I only need about a pump to cover my whole face. Makeup sits beautifully on top of it as well. If you’re prone to have more oily skin but want to try this primer? Maybe go lighter on your skin care prep before adding this bad boy in so you don’t have too much going on. 

Is it worth it? If you have dehydrated skin like me, then yes, I would definitely say this product is worth it! If you have oily skin, I would probably skip or get a sample from Sephora if you’re looking to test it out. 


Restaurants

Clara Carlsbad Village (Click here)

Clara was a surprising find last month! The restaurant is situated in Carlsbad Village in Village Faire so I’ve never thought much about it since it isn’t visible from the street. As I was looking for some spots to try out, Clara popped up and after reading some reviews, I was convinced to give it a try.

Clara specializes in farm to table ingredients that are prepared as Clara states it, “simply to celebrate each perfect flavor and elevate your senses.” They definitely stuck to their word on this mission statement. Yes, the dishes are simple, but man oh man are they packed with flavor. We were shocked we hadn’t tried this place sooner.

We ordered:

Mussels – White wine, garlic and herbs and crostini.

Surf & Turf

Chicken Penne Aurora – Smoked chicken, mushroom, sun-dried tomato, creamy tomato sauce and Tuscan bread. 

Is Clara worth it? For dinner, yes! I took my Mom there for lunch a few days later and wasn’t as impressed with their lunch menu. I would definitely come back for dinner though.

Flying Toad Escondido (Click here)

We’ve been wanting to branch out of Carlsbad and try some other food scenes. We never thought too much about Escondido but after seeing the reviews for The Flying Toad we just had to try it.

This restaurant is originally known as the fine dining establishment Vincent’s but the owners had to pivot once COVID hit since fine dining hasn’t been much in demand. The Flying Toad is the more affordable version of Vincent’s and has been a great success with the locals. This is primarily a French restaurant but the chef throws in some fun Asian flares in some of the dishes. 

We ordered:

Rack of Lamp – New Zealand lamb, potato du jour, local harvest vegetables and cherry herb sauce.

Beef Wellington – Revier Ranch Filet Mignon, mushroom duxelle, pate truffuled wine sauce, potatoes du jour and local harvest vegetables.

Pork Belly Crispy Rice Balls – Pork Belly, risotto, mozzarella and tomato jam.

Hunsaker French Onion Soup – Veal and beef stock, onion, baguette crouton, port wine and swiss cheese.

Is it worth a buy? When it comes to the French food, 100% yes. When it comes to the dishes with random flares? Not so much. Unfortunately, our Pork Belly Crispy Rice Balls fell flat. The savory rice balls and pork belly mixed with the sweet sauce just didn’t work for us. However, the French onion soup was the best I have ever had. The waitress told us it take a few days to make the broth and you can definitely tell it’s a labor of love.

Alchemist Paso Robles (Click here)

While on a road trip to Paso Robles in California, we were introduced to Alchemist located in the downtown square. Their website couldn’t have said it more perfectly, “Alchemy – a power or process of transforming something common into something special.” This meal was nothing short of spectacular. 

Each dish was well thought out with some very creative twists. Thankfully the flavors did not suffer because of this. I wish we could have ordered everything to try but I guess that just means we will have to go back sometime soon!

We ordered: 

Croquettes of the Day (Sweet Potato)

Cast Iron Fondue – Melted mozzarella, raclette, soyrizo, cilantro, pepitas and crispy potato dippers.

Duck Chalupa – Crispy pita, melted cheese, spicy slaw, sour cream, fresh herbs and duck carnitas.

Coffee Rubbed Skirt Steak – root vegetable smash, chimichurri and sweet potato threads.

Confetti Tiny Cake – Vanilla cream cheese frosting and raspberry sorbet.

Bruleed Banana Split – Salted caramel sauce, chocolate, peanut butter mousse, hazelnut ice cream and luxardo cherries.

Is it worth it? OMG YES IT IS! If you’re ever in the Paso Robles area, please, please, please make it here for dinner. It is worth every penny and then some.


Wine of the Month

RoseRock Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir 21+ (Click here)

You can see this lovely bottle of wine in my photos from Clara. We brought a bottle to dinner and I’m not ashamed. This wine deserves to be everywhere. My mom actually showed me this wine while I was at her house for dinner. She was at Costco looking at the bottle and some random woman walked up, grabbed her arm and told her she NEEDED to buy this wine. She had just recently tried it and had loved it (and even had some in her shopping cart). Without hesitation, my mom bought a couple of bottles and it’s now in our current rotation of pinots!

It really is delicious. It’s light, fruity, well rounded and pairs perfectly with just about anything. I could honestly drink pinots year-round but this wine is especially tasty in the colder months. Rose Rock is definitely worth a buy!


Recipe of the Month

Pinch of Yum Anytime Baked Turkey Meatballs (Click here)

Let me preface this by saying Pinch of Yum is one of my favorite food blogs out there. Lindsay is always coming out with new and delicious recipes and I have yet to find one I didn’t like. Her turkey meatball recipe has been around for a while now but one night I was craving a big bowl of pasta and as I was cruising her site, I stumbled across these meatballs. The ingredient list was short and they seemed pretty simple to make which is definitely something I look for when I’m cooking on a weeknight.

I gave them a whirl and holy smokes was I hooked. Small ingredient list but packed with flavor! I make these with some spaghetti noodles, pasta sauce and spinach a couple times a month now. The best part is you can make a bunch of them ahead of time and then store them in the freezer for even easier week night meals!

10/10 woth a buy! Well you can’t really buy them, but you can definitely buy the ingredients to make them. You know what I mean. 


Well there you have it. My first Worth a Buy or a Try for January 2021!

What do you think? Was this helpful in any way? Let me know if you’ve tried or want to try anything mentioned above!

See you next month,

Morgan

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