Spoiled Rotten: Birthday Weekend

Hey, y’all!

I didn’t need to do a Spoil Me Sunday this week because I’ve been absolutely spoiled all weekend! Thursday was my birthday, so my husband and I took a 4-day weekend. Before the weekend even started, my office roomie, Jessi, was so sweet and gave me the DIY Masks kit pictured above as a birthday present. I can’t want to try it out!

There are links throughout this post for various things we tried and places we went. These aren’t affiliate links; I just like sharing, especially when it comes to local businesses!

Thursday

We started off the day with lunch at Fogo de Chão, which was delicious as always. Jeff’s aunt and uncle had given us a gift card for Christmas, so that made it even better. Yeah, we’re trying to eat mostly vegetarian, but that was out the window this weekend, and I have zero regrets. If you’ve never been to Fogo de Chão before, it’s a Brazilian churrascaria; other similar restaurants are Texas de Brazil and Chama Gaucha. A dozen different cuts of meat are brought out on large skewers and sliced right onto your plate. You can choose from beef, pork, chicken, and lamb, and they’ll keep bringing you more until you tell them to stop. It’s a meat-lover’s paradise, but it’s a great place for vegetarians, too. The salad bar is fantastic with a wide variety of green salads, grains, fruits, and cheeses. It’s probably one of my favorite restaurants on the planet.

After lunch, we had a few minutes to kill so we stopped by Whole Foods to stock up on Zevia, and we got some Mochi ice cream, which I’d never tried before. They look kind of like dipped Oreos, but they’re different flavors of ice cream wrapped in various flavors of Mochi, which is a sweet rice dough. Jeff got Chocolate Espresso, Navel Orange, and Pistachio; I got Green Tea (a little disappointing), Chocolate Mint, and White Chocolate Raspberry. If I were to get it again, I think I’d stick with the fruity flavors because they taste so light and refreshing.

Then it was time for our couples massage at Massage Oasis. We first discovered this place when Jeff’s mom got him a gift certificate while he was studying for the CFA. This place is the absolute best. They use traditional massage techniques, which includes walking on your back, if you want them to. My masseuse found tight spots I didn’t even know were there. I felt a little tender when we left, but soooooo relaxed. A full tummy and a full body massage makes for a perfect birthday, especially when it’s spent with your favorite person. 🙂

Friday

Why confine birthday celebration to just one day? We started out with brunch at Se7en Bites for Burger Friday. This is one of our favorite brunch restaurants in Orlando, and part of what keeps it interesting is that the menu rotates. They have some staple items that are always on the menu, but on Fridays their burgers rotate, and on weekends, they have a specials menu that changes each week. I was hoping the “Italian Stallion” burger would be on the menu (a delicious thick patty with a plank of fried mozzarella on top), but it wasn’t, so I went with the 7th Heaven (pimento cheese and bacon). Their 5-cheese mac & cheese is to die for, so we shared some. You can’t go to Se7en Bites without checking out their sweets counter, though. Homemade magnificence that changes just like the savory menu: some staples are always available (one of my favorites is the “Don’t Fudge With Me” bar cookie) and some specials rotate through (we got a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bread Pudding to take home). We also picked up a slice of cake to act as my birthday cake–dark chocolate stout cake. So freaking delicious. Seriously, if you live in Orlando and haven’t been to Se7en Bites, get on it! If you ever come to visit, don’t miss out!

PS: Get there early, and if you see the line out the door, don’t freak out–it moves quickly.

PPS: If you go on Sunday after 10:30, they serve fresh homemade cinnamon rolls. Like with everything else, there’s a staple (classic cinnamon) and a special flavor that rotates (I’ve had butter pecan and s’more for example.) They sell them until they run out.

Once we made sure we had full tummies, we checked out Bulk Nation. I’d passed by it a hundred times, but I assumed it was another health food store like GNC or Vitamin Shoppe, so I didn’t pay much attention. Turns out it’s a bulk food store that has an incredible selection of everything from beans to dried fruits to grains to coffee to candy. We will definitely be going back. I stopped by Ulta, too, to get some things and pick up my birthday gift. Not everything I was buying was in stock, so I’ll post about my haul once the last few items arrive.

Next came the facial (cue the angel chorus), which was my birthday present from Jeff. I go to Lavender Spa in Celebration for waxing and facials, but I didn’t feel like driving all the way over there for my facial, so Jeff found The Skin Studio in Baldwin Park. Amy was very knowledgable and friendly, and she didn’t mind answering all my questions. I really enjoyed my signature enzyme facial, and she used some tools on me that I really want to buy for myself now! I’m looking at you My Skin Buddy, and I need to do more research on ultrasonic skin scrubbers, but I really want one for extractions at home.

We went and saw Incredibles 2, which we really enjoyed. It was hilarious, but I wanted more Edna Mode. 🙂

Saturday

After all the indulging I’d done, I decided to kick my own butt by going to 3 classes in a row at Elevated Fitness. I started out with Flexibility to get my muscles warm (they were still tender from the massage). Then Aerial Yoga increased the blood flow and decompressed my spine. Finally finished off with Silks, which is always a great calorie burner. I’m definitely feeling my abs today.

Later in the afternoon we started slowly getting back to reality by grocery shopping, working on laundry, blah, blah, blah. I countered that with watching some nostalgic movies like A Troll in Central Park and Homeward Bound on our Amazon Firestick. It’s all about balance and feeding your inner child. 🙂

Sunday

Today is all about sleeping in, meal prepping, blogging, and finishing up laundry. It’s been a wonderful weekend with my best friend, and the birthday wishes from near and far have been truly humbling. It’s also Father’s Day! Don’t forget to call the important father figures in your life to tell them how much they mean to you!


28 was a good year, and I can’t wait to see what 29 has in store. Subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty to stay in the know!

Have a great week!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Spoil Me Sunday: Guilt-Free Day Drinking

Hey, y’all!

What better way to kick off my birthday week than a lazy Sunday Funday? I’m taking off Thursday (my birthday) and Friday, so only a 3 day work week this coming week. (Yes, please!) We had enough leftovers from last week, so lunch meal prep is already taken care of. (Winning!)

Who doesn’t love a refreshing afternoon cocktail on a hot Sunday afternoon? It’s even more enjoyable when it’s 100% guilt-free! A Moscow Mule is so refreshing and with just a few ingredients, it’s so simple.

The Ingredients

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As I mentioned, there aren’t many ingredients required to make a Moscow Mule:

  • 2oz of vodka (I’m not super picky about brand, and part of my purchase of this brand at Total Wine went to charity)
  • 3oz of Ginger beer–I substituted Ginger Ale Zevia, instead, and I wasn’t picky about the amount
  • 1oz of lime juice
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge for garnish (I skipped that)

I absolutely love Zevia soda. I drink one pretty much every day, and I don’t even remember the last time I had a regular soda. It comes in 14 different flavors, has zero calories, and is sweetened with Stevia instead of sugar. The Ginger Ale is delicious and is a delicious substitute for Ginger beer in this drink recipe–it’s what makes this cocktail guilt-free!

The Preparation

Preparing this drink is ridiculously simple: combine the first 4 ingredients in a copper mug (optional), stir, and garnish with a lime wedge (also optional). (The necessity of a copper mug is debatable, but you can read about the reasoning here.) I got this gorgeous set of 4 copper mugs with copper straws on Amazon for less than $50. Instead of measuring out the Zevia, I just poured the vodka and lime juice over ice, topped it off with Zevia, and stirred. No calories, no need to measure. 🙂

The flavor is a delicious combination of sweet and tangy, and it’s so refreshing on a hot afternoon! Low-cal? I think I’ll have two. 🙂


What’s your favorite summer drink recipe? Please share in the comments!

Have a fabulous week!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


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Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

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Spoil Me Sunday: Roll With It

Hey, y’all!

I’ve been thinking about it, and my blog is called “Balanced Life Beauty,” but it’s been pretty slanted towards the “beauty” part lately. I absolutely love beauty products, skincare, and all that fun stuff, but I need to work on incorporating more of the “balance” part into my posts. You and I are both so much more than the products we’re trying, the techniques we’re using, or the overall outward appearance we’re presenting to the world. What are we doing for fun? What are we reading? What are we doing for our bodies, minds, and spirits? I’m going to work on sharing more of that with you, and I hope you’ll do the same so that we can feed off of each other. Beauty treatments and home spa days are a fun way to spoil yourself, but there are so many other ways out there. Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in me writing more about! Don’t worry, you’ll still be seeing plenty of beauty-related posts from me, but I’m eager to expand topics a bit.

In the spirit of changing things up, this week’s Spoil Me Sunday had absolutely nothing to do with skincare or beauty products in any way. Instead, I gave myself some quality time on my foam roller while I watched a movie. Between Silks, Barré, Flexibility, and Aerial Yoga this week, my quads and hip flexors were killing me. Foam rolling is my jam for a few reasons:

  1. I’m a pretty high-stress individual (always have been), and I carry a lot of tension in certain muscle groups.
  2. I do aerial arts as my workout 5 days a week, Zumba 1 day, and rest on the 7th to give my muscles some recovery time. (I’m planning to post more about my workout regimen in the future.)
  3. I can do it as part of my stretching routine while I’m doing something else, like reading a book, watching TV, talking on the phone, etc.

The Equipment

Photo of GRID 2.0 Foam Roller from Trigger Point Therapy
Grid 2.0 Foam Roller, $64.99; Trigger Point Therapy

A foam roller is a cylindrically shaped piece of high-density foam that is used for self-myofascial release, aka self-massage. I first learned about foam rolling after I was in a car accident in college. The nature of the impact slightly twisted my spine because of how flexible it is, so through physical therapy I worked to realign it and then strengthen the supporting muscles. The therapist recommended foam rolling as a way to massage my back myself, increasing blood flow, and minimizing muscular scar tissue. I bought one that looked kind of like this, and I enjoyed using it regularly.

When I moved from Texas to Florida, I drove, and I only brought what could fit in my car; my foam roller didn’t make the cut, so I left it at my parents’ house, and my dad still uses it regularly. A few years later, a college friend of mine had become a physical therapist and recommended the Grid foam roller from Trigger Point Therapy. The hard, hollow core is wrapped with dense EVA foam, which makes it harder than the type I’d had before. Because of the hollow core, it also uses less foam, which makes it more environmentally friendly. What really sets it apart, though, is the three dimensional surface, which my old roller didn’t have. It promotes oxygen and blood flow, which gives your muscles what they need to repair themselves. The multiples surfaces are meant to simulate the effects of a massage therapist’s hands, and the firmness means it can target deeper muscle pain than traditional softer foam rollers.

Trigger Point Therapy has several different models of foam rollers to choose from. Here’s a quick chart I made for easy comparison:

GRID
GRID 2.0
GRID X
GRID Mini
GRID Vibe
Diameter
5.5″
5.5″
5.5″
5.5″
3.5″
Length
13″
26″
13″
4″
12″
Tested Weight Capacity (Static Load)
500 lbs
500 lbs
550 lbs
250 lbs
400 lbs
Roller Weight
1.5 lbs
3 lbs
1.5 lbs
.5 lbs
2.15 lbs
Defining Characteristic
The original
Twice as long as GRID
Twice as dense as GRID
Compact size makes it ideal for travel.
Note: due to small size, not recommended for use on your back.
Vibrates to further increase blood flow and loosen muscle tension.

Their website recommends using the 2.0 if you’re new to foam rolling because its larger size provides you with more stability that the original. I chose the 2.0 because with it being so long, I can also lay on it lengthwise to help release tension in my chest . You can also find some of these foam rollers on Amazon, sometimes for a lower price.

How to Use It

Part of what I love about foam rolling is how simple it is to do because you just let gravity do the work. Put whatever part of your body needs it onto the roller and slowly roll over it, stopping occasionally on the parts that hurt the most. Generally, it’s recommended to let it sit on a sore spot for about 30-45 seconds to give the muscle time to adjust and relax, but you can do it up to a minute, if you want. If you’re still not noticing a difference, move on to another area, and come back to that one later. Some of my favorite areas to foam roll are my back, my lats, my IT bands, my quads, and my front hip flexors. Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and more importantly, I’m not your doctor. It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor or physical therapist for sharp pain and receive approval before starting self-myofascial release.

The Benefits

It’s pretty difficult to overdo it with foam rolling. 3-5 times a week is sufficient, and with regular use, you can experience several benefits:

  • Facilitating the muscle healing and recovery process through increased oxygen and blood flow to your muscles
  • Releasing trigger points to help reestablish correct movement patterns and enhance performance, especially when done in conjunction with regular stretching
  • Breaking up adhesions between muscle layers

The beauty of self-myofascial release is that you control the pressure. It’s uncomfortable just like any other massage, but if it’s done correctly, it’s not outright painful. You can perform self-myofascial release with a tennis ball, massage stick, or any other similar tool, including your hands. I prefer the roam roller because it’s easier to cover a wider surface area, and its larger diameter helps me to pop some of my joints, like my back and sternum.


How do you like to recover from working out? Do you want to see more posts like this? I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great week!

Love,

Sarah xoxo


If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, please subscribe to Balanced Life Beauty.

Instagram: sarah.elizabeth614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

Twitter: @SarahLiz614 (You can also click the icon at the top of this page.)

Yes, Oh Yas!: Get 3-7 full-size beauty products worth $65+ delivered to you each month for $14.99 + shipping. Use coupon code SARAH614 at checkout for 10% off your first box!