#1MillionMinutes: Week 1

Greetings! Hope your week is off to a good start.

Recently I became a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, and from June 21 until August 21, we’re doing #1MillionMinutes.

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If it isn’t obvious, the community’s goal is to accumulate 1 million minutes of activity—be it running, cycling, walking, lifting, interval training, yoga, you name it—before August 21. We also want to inspire others to get moving this summer.

I haven’t set an actual goal, but for my first week, I’ve completed 125 minutes of activity. To hold myself accountable, I thought I’d do a recap of the previous week’s activity each Monday. Here’s week #1.

  • June 21: rest
  • June 22: 45 minutes Cardio Barre
  • June 23: rest
  • June 24: 20 minutes walking during lunch
  • June 25: 60 minutes Body Pump
  • June 26: rest
  • June 27: rest
  • June 28: rest

As you can see, I took it easy. Baby M has been super cranky lately, so I did a heck of a lot of cuddling and consoling last week. I’m planning to try making it to the gym 3 times per week, or at least adding a nice, long walk or at-home circuit workout some evenings.

  • How do you stay active during the summer?
  • What’s your favorite type of workout?

Weekly Links 06.28.15

Happy Sunday! What an eventful week it’s been. ♥

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This past week was slow (both at work and on the blog, evidently), but the weekend was much-appreciated. Saturday was spent running some errands, getting froyo, and trying to soothe a super fussy baby. I think he’s teething and going through a big developmental leap, because nothing seems to make the poor little man happy.

Today, we plan to relax. Enjoy this week’s reads.

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.Recipes.

Olive Oil Parmesan Grilled Corn // Fit Foodie Finds

So simple—but it looks divine. What’s better than grilled corn in the summertime?

Grilled Cherry Salsa // How Sweet It Is

Oh Em Geeeee. This looks incredible. The last time I bought cherries, I spent $17. But it would be worth repeating because fresh, seasonal cherries are superb.

Fudgy Black Bean Zucchini Cookies // Hummusapien

Anything described as “fudgy” has to be delicious—even if it’s made with zucchini and black beans.

Sweet Plum Sorbet // Joy the Baker

I adore fresh plums on their own, but I’ve never thought to make anything with them, let alone sorbet. This looks perfectly refreshing, though.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread // Sally’s Baking Addiction

Yep, another fudgy-yet-veggie-filled creation. I’ve been craving sweets like a mad woman—and feeling foggy and tired as a result. Still, a girl needs her chocolate; might as well “health it up.”

.Mental Health & Wellness.

Can The Bacteria In Your Gut Explain Your Mood? // The New York Times

Reading about the microbiome and how food affects our mental health is always fascinating.

Postnatal Depletion // Goop

I’ve heard the brain does in fact change during and after pregnancy, but this is quite an interesting read. Much more intense than I’d imagined. And it explains so much about my general brain fog, exhaustion, and inability to focus for more than 5 seconds! ;-)

12 Netflix Documentaries That Will Make You Want To Be Healthy // Pop Sugar

I’m a huge documentary fan. Some I’ve seen, but others I’ll have to check out soon.

.Food & Body Image.

On Veganism, Eating Disorder Recovery, and “No” Foods // Choosing Raw

I don’t have the same history or moral stance on veganism as Gena does (unapologetic  omnivore here), but I enjoy her blog for its creative recipes and incredible writing. I love how she articulates her viewpoints without sounding overly zealous or condemning of others, and I’m always left with some new insight or knowledge after reading. I imagine it is an extremely fine line rationalizing one’s moral view of food (in her case, veganism) with letting go of one’s fear of “bad” foods (being in the throes of an ED). I can see how many therapists would view a recovering ED sufferer’s conversion to veganism as a red flag, but I can also see how veganism as a lifestyle and moral conviction would free a person from that crippling good/bad dichotomy, even though whole food groups are now off-limits. Although both EDs and moral veganism are outside of my experience, I’d like to think I have a decent understanding of how they come from vastly different places (fear/anxiety/illness vs. compassion/ethics). And I echo the sentiment that food—no matter how tumultuous your past relationship—is vastly important to us all.

Life After Orthorexia: One Blogger’s Quest To Reclaim Her Health // Daily Burn

To offer a different perspective from the above, here’s a story about a blogger whose vegan diet did lead to more disordered eating habits. That’s not to say it caused them, but it shows that further restricting one’s diet—especially if that particular diet causes physical symptoms—can cause further damage if the choices are made out of fear rather than healing.

Enough Whole Food Hating // Clean Eats Fast Feets

So well said. You can lose weight (or stay skinny) by eating Lean Cuisine and avoiding certain foods, but in the long run, your HEALTH suffers. I wish I knew the original blogger/post she’s referring to in her rant to see the words for myself, although it would probably make my blood boil if I read it!

.Fitness.

10 Minute No Nonsense Circuit Workout // The Almond Eater

For those days I don’t make it to the gym, I need to incorporate more at-home circuit workouts that don’t require equipment. I like this one; it’s quick!

.Humor & Life Lessons.

If The Exercise Class Descriptions From My Gym Were Honest // The Everywhereist

Not even sure how I stumbled upon this blog, but this post is hilarious. The descriptions, based on my experience, are spot on (which means I must be a masochist since I love Barre, Bikram, Pilates, and BodyPump despite it all!).

Terrifying Infant Firsts // The Lunchbox Diaries

I’m not a kid—or baby—person, and I’ve learned a lot “on the job.” All of these crossed my mind at one point, and I still stare at the monitor or my sleeping 8 month old to make sure he’s still alive!

Parenting Doesn’t Get Easier. It Gets Different. // We Are That Family

This is good to remember—especially on those exhaustion-filled mornings that follow 3:45-AM wake-ups and a baby who thinks middle of the night = playtime. It’s always going to be challenging, but our goal as parents remains largely the same, no matter what “season.”

On the Right Foot: Kushyfoot Review

Let’s talk about feet.

Oh, you mean that doesn’t entice you to hang around?

Maybe I should’ve said let’s talk about Kushyfoot®.

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Recently Lipton Publicity sent me a package of assorted Kushyfoot® products to review. In case you’ve never heard of them, Kushyfoot® is a hosiery/footwear company whose stylish products feature specially designed soles that offer massaging sensations and cushion throughout the day. Their product assortment ranges from foot covers, socks, knee highs and tights, etc.

To be honest, I was a little bummed when I received my package because I thought some yoga or athletic socks might have been included (which I desperately need now that I’m taking barre classes again!), but they did send me a sweet assortment of other footwear to try.

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In my package, I received:

  • Flats To Go in Fleecy Leopard
  • Foot Cover with Cotton Sole in black
  • Lace Top Toe Covers in black and nude
  • Peep Toe Foot Covers in nude
  • Sheer Knee High with Cotton Sole in nude

I have been wearing the flats-to-go around the house as slippers and think they’re pretty comfortable and cute. While they’re too thin to wear as an all-day shoe, they’re perfect to toss in my bag for a long day at the office or a wedding where hours of dancing might be on the agenda—which is exactly their purpose.

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Because I’m in between sizes—they come in S (5-6), M (7-8) and L (9-10)—they slip off occasionally, but that’s due to my foot size, not their construction.

On our trip to the zoo this past weekend, I wore the foot covers with my sneakers. Although cotton would have been a more breathable option, these covers did add a noticeable bit of extra cushion without making my feet any hotter than they already were due to the weather.

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I haven’t had an occasion yet to wear the lace toe covers, knee highs, or peep toe covers, but if they’re anything like the foot covers, I think they’ll add just the right amount of cushion to my heals and dressier flats.

If I see Kushyfoot® in my local stores, I’ll probably try out the athletic socks. Unfortunately my job doesn’t require me to wear a lot of hosiery, but if you spend a lot of time on your feet, particularly in uncomfortable shoes, I’d recommend giving Kushyfoot® a try.

**I received Kushyfoot® products free of charge in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**

Baby M: 8 Months

I guess it’s a symptom of busy motherhood, but I’m habitually posting these updates late! Last Thursday was Baby M’s 8 month birthday. This time around I opted to write Baby M a letter…

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Dearest Bazooka,

It’s hard to believe that you’re already 8 months old! Although you’re still a baby and will be for a while, sometimes I look at you and see this sweet, independent little boy staring back at me!

Where do I start? First off, you’re still not quite crawling, but you don’t let the motions stop you from being mobile. You’ll scoot backward, roll all over the place, or do a sort of leap-frog hop on your hands and feet to get around. You even shocked the daylights out of mommy and daddy when you decided to stand up all by yourself a couple of times! You didn’t stay up long, but those little muscular legs of yours put mommy’s squatting ability to shame.

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On another physical front, your beautiful little smile is now full of teeth! We miss your adorable gummy grin, but those 6 teeth (top and bottom central incisors, top lateral incisors—not canines) are cute, too. They’re not so great when you, um, chomp at the “hand” that feeds you—if you catch my drift. Mommy will try not to cry out in pain again, but you need to be more careful, too!

You’re slowly gaining weight, but you’ve got quite a heedful of hair compared to mommy and daddy at your age. It’s the softest—and I love smelling that sweet head of yours after we bathe you and coat you in lavender lotion.

You’re still eating really well, and I think later this month we might introduce more “finger foods” to you. You nurse in the mornings and evenings and love all sorts of purees—and you even ate your first veggie straw and French fry at the zoo this past weekend! You also enjoy banana puffs—although your pincher grip is still a little shaky, so most of the puffs end up in your lap or on the floor. Big brother Iggy doesn’t mind. ;-)

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Bath time is still hit or miss, but occasionally we get a few laughs and splashes out of you. Your Gigi bought you a lot of fun bath time toys, so hopefully you begin to enjoy them (and your new swimming pool that daddy inflated for you) soon.

After a period of fussing and crying during diaper changes, you no longer seem to loathe them. We just have to be extremely careful because you now think your changing table is a playground. You immediately flip over onto your hands and knees—making us nervous you’re going to fall. Changing your clothes and diaper is a circus act, often requiring 2 sets of hands!

Around 34 weeks, you hit some sort of brief—thankfully!—sleep regression. We were lucky to have made it through the 4 month regression without trouble, but I think you’re now at the age where separation anxiety and object permanence reveal themselves. It was difficult to put you to sleep—and you spent several nights between us in our bed—but despite our tiredness, we loved having you nearby. The last couple nights you spent back in your crib, so we’ll see how it goes.

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You haven’t really made any word-like sounds yet, but you are a “talkative” little dude. Sometimes it sounds like you’re saying “Iggy,” but who knows? Your constant coos and squeals continue to make us laugh. We’re also fairly certain you’re going to grow up to be an engineer, since you seem to inspect your musical snow globe, trying to figure out how it works!

Little man, you are our everything. You take a lot of our energy sometimes, but we wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world! 

Happy, happy 8 months!

If you’re catching up, you can find Baby M’s other monthly updates on my Baby page.

My Summer Foodie Bucket List

Summers down South are pretty brutal, but there’s one thing we will celebrate no matter how high the humidity climbs or how many hurricanes are churning in the Gulf: food.

We simply adore food. We love food so much, that while lunching with friends, our conversation is likely centered on that epic brunch we enjoyed the weekend before or what feast we have planned later for dinner.

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With our undying zeal for good eats, it’s no surprise that we have a plethora of food—and drink—festivals.

Food is something to celebrate!

This summer, I’m teaming up with Eventbrite after hearing about their Trends in Food and Drink project.

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Eventbrite is an easy-to-use platform that assists you in finding events—festivals, conferences, athletic events, fundraisers, etc.—in your area. They also have free event management tools and widgets to help you advertise your event, sell tickets, and track your event’s progress.

While I’ve never hosted an event, I have registered for countless races and festivals through their site with ease.

This month or next, we’re planning a day trip to New Orleans. While the Audubon Zoo is on our agenda, I’m crossing our fingers we can also swing by the French Quarter for the annual Creole Tomato Festival (June 13-14).

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There really is no better tomato than the Creole—and this lively festival is a great place to sample one if you’ve never tried one.

But if we don’t make it there again, there’s always the inaugural Bay Bites Food Truck Festival at Cooper Riverside Park in Mobile (July 8).

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We’re fans of Geaux Boy, but there are several local food trucks we’ve never tried.

One of my favorite summer events in Mobile is the Dauphin Street Beer Festival. We stayed home last year (I was almost 8 months pregnant!), but it’s a beer lover’s dream with approximately 100 craft brews to sample.

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//via//

Something that really intrigues me is the COOLinary New Orleans promotion. For the entire month of August, quite an assortment of the city’s finest restaurants are offering affordable lunch and dinner menus.

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Some of my favorites I’d love to revisit are Mr. B’s, Café Degas, and Muriel’s (the best Bloody Mary!). It would also be a great time to try the famed Antoine’s or Galatoire’s.

With so much good food to be had this summer, I’m sure you’ll find us attending at least one of these events with our appetites in tow! Be sure to check out Eventbrite to find local festivals and events in your area.

  • Are you attending any food or drink festivals this year?
  • What’s on your foodie bucket list?

National Running Day 2015

Good morning to you!

Not only is today Hump Day—it’s National Running Day.

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Last year I shared with you why I run, but this year I thought I would share something fun.

Since my last 5K, I haven’t done much running. I’m sure some of you dedicated folks can tough it out, but to me, it’s just too darn hot! Even the early mornings and late evenings are steamy.

Instead, I’ve been going to the gym (more on that tomorrow). Hopefully I’ll be much stronger come autumn, when it’s cool enough to start running again.

Till then, here’s my running bucket list.

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1. Run a sub-25 minute 5K 

When I run, it’s purely for fun. Sure, it’s nice to beat a previous time, but finishing in a certain time has never been my goal. Still, I know that with enough training, I could run a pretty decent 5K—which would translate to roughly an 8-minute per mile pace. I’ve got a long way to go (my last 5K was roughly 35 minutes!), but it’s definitely possible.

2. Run a destination race

I’ve only done races in my hometown, but I’d love to travel somewhere, perhaps for the Rock-N-Roll marathon and half-marathon series. Savannah is a city I’ve always wanted to visit, but New Orleans, Chicago, or any other city on the list would be fun, too. Oh, and let’s not forget Disney World!

3. Train for and complete a marathon

I guess I should set my goal to complete a half-marathon first, but every time I read stories of “non-runners” (like myself) completing 26.2 miles—no matter how fast or slow—I get chills. It would be incredibly emotional, and while I used to think it was something I’d never want to attempt, I’m not going to write it off for the future (after Baby M is older, of course).

4. Run a race with Baby M

Of course I’ll love my little man whether he’s athletic or not, but I’ve always envisioned myself running, playing ball (even though I have no hand-eye coordination), etc. with my children. He’s full of energy and has already been a spectator in 2 of my races (plus, he’s completed 3 in utero!), so I think there’s a good chance he’ll be a little running buddy.

5. Complete a Mud Run/Obstacle Run

A legitimate “Tough Mudder” may be too difficult for my abilities, but I’d love to complete a similar race. Next time I know people are putting a team together, I’ll have to join in!

  • If you’re a runner, what would be on your bucket list?

Sunset Pointe Review

Early last month, Mark and I enjoyed lunch at the fairly new Sunset Pointe restaurant at Fly Creek Marina. The location itself isn’t new—it was once home to the Fly Creek Café—but Pete Blohme’s recent incarnation opened early this year (Pete is also the owner of Panini Pete’s, one of my favorite local sandwich spots, which has been featured on “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives”).

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On a perfectly sunny and warm day, we opted to sit outside overlooking the marina. It was absolutely gorgeous, although a little shade would’ve been welcomed.

It’s been a long time since we visited the old Fly Creek Café, so I can’t remember it much. I can tell they made some changes to the interior, however, as it’s light and airy (they knocked down some old walls), something you’d imagine for a water-side restaurant.

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Everything on the menu sounded incredible. I had a tough time choosing, so Mark and I both started with a (local) Fairhope 51 Pale Ale while we perused the offerings. Baby M opted to remain sleeping. :-)

Finally I chose the Seared Tuna BLT (I was craving seafood but wanted to step outside the usual box). The sandwich was fantastic. I loved the fresh focaccia (probably the same from Panini Pete’s), and the Conecuh bacon, lemon aioli, Bibb lettuce, and tomato were a wonderful compliment to the perfectly-seared tuna.

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The slaw on the side was crisp and fresh, but I thought it was missing something. I did love its simplicity, but for me it was a touch too sweet and needed another splash of lemon juice or acid.

Mark really stepped out of the box and tried the Sunset Pointe Burger (I didn’t get a photo). It was enormous and loaded with Conecuh bacon, pimento cheese, and caramelized onions. The sweet potato chips served on the side were also delicious (of course I poached one or two).

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We thought the menu was a smidge too pricey (maybe?), but the lunch options were definitely affordable. Dinner, of course, was higher, but even it wasn’t out of our price range. I don’t mind paying a bit more for something obviously fresh and of high quality.

The rest of the menu highlights local seafood. There are Gulf Coast BBQ Shrimp, Crab Meat Balls, and Eastern Shore Bouillabaisse for “small bights.” The salads sounded delicious—and one could add grilled chicken, shrimp, or seared tuna/fish of the day if desired. I almost tried the Ode to Grouper Sandwich, and the “large bights” of Southern Fried Fish ‘N Chips, Sesame Seared Tuna with Sweet Soy Glaze, and even the Lemon Butter Chicken sounded tantalizing!

I’d love to go back for dinner to view one of our incredible sunsets, as the restaurant faces west with an unobstructed view of Mobile Bay.

If you’re looking for a casual, non-chain restaurant with a creative menu focusing on local ingredients, look no further than Sunset Pointe. I highly recommend it (although, if you sit outside, you may need sunscreen!).

National Stroller Running Day 2015

Short notice here—babies make for busy mommies!—but today I wanted to pop in and share a really cool event that’s coming up on Sunday, May 31: Stroller Running Day!

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I don’t know about you other moms, but in my early postpartum days, nothing felt better than getting outside for a stroll. Whether it was for 15 minutes or an hour, I craved my afternoon walks like Baby M craved milk. :-)

Those walks were a literal breath of fresh air and precious moments of activity for me, but they were often the only time I could get Baby M to take a decent nap!

IMG_1524This was before we ordered our jogging stroller, so just pretend I’m pushing a sleek jogger, ok?

Katie at Mom’s Little Running Buddy has organized Stroller Running Day as a way to celebrate all the fit mamas out there and the extra mile they go to stay active and healthy for their families.

It’s a chance to connect with other mother (and father!) runners both in person through several events across the country (check out the list here) and virtually by using the hashtag #StrollerRun15 (or #StrollerRun14 from last November’s inaugural event).

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I encourage you and your families to lace up your running shoes, strap in your little ones, and join us all for stroll this Sunday.

If the weather cooperates, Mark and I plan to take Baby M and Iggy for a Sunday afternoon walk, perhaps at the park or college. I’m already looking forward to it!

Be sure to check the event website for some awesome giveaways, including a BOB Revolution SE stroller (single or double—winner’s choice), his and her Mizuno Running Shoes, and a family 4-pack of Crocs. And don’t forget to share your photos and tweets (#StrollerRun15)!

What I Ate Wednesday 05.27.15

Happy Hump Day!

It’s been a little while since we talked food on here—so let’s skip the pleasantries and talk about what I’ve been eating lately.

Had I thought about taking out my camera this weekend, I would’ve done a “What I Ate Memorial Day” edition, but, alas, I kept the phone away. Partially because I just didn’t think about blogging, but mostly because my phone is kind of dying. Ok, it still works, but the bottom half of the screen is failing.

Apparently that’s what happens when your 7 month old is completely obsessed with your phone and uses it for a teether!

Anytime one of us takes out our phone, Baby M has to have it. I’ve gone so far as giving him a defunct older phone to play with, but I was too late. The other day, I felt something drip on me. I was holding my phone—nothing else—so I took the cover off only to find it full of drool. I’m so dumb!

But…at least the phone still works (and will hopefully do so until Christmas when I can upgrade), and now I’m going to move on to the food after grossing you out.

What I Ate Wednesday Tuesday

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Breakfast: an English muffin topped with Kerry Gold butter (happy, grass-fed cows make awesome butter—seriously, it’s so much better than the regular kind)

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Morning snack: a banana

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Lunch: leftover red beans and rice (not the prettiest meal, but delicious) and a Cashew Cookie Larabar for dessert (no photo)

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Afternoon snack: half a container of (new-to-me) coconut Noosa yoghurt

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Dinner: pan-fried chicken cutlet over a chopped salad (I inhaled this salad. I went to my second Cardio Barre class (!!!) and was ravenous afterward.) and a glass of wine

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I feel like we’ve kind of hit a wall again in terms of kitchen creativity. The hubs is super busy at work, I don’t actually cook (even though I have what began as a recipe blog), and none of us have had much of a taste for anything recently. We’ve eaten a lot of eggs (on sandwiches and in frittatas), salads, beans and rice, and whatever we can find in the pantry. It works. Besides, who cares about what we eat when we can devote our attention to introducing new veggies and fruits to this adorable guy? :-)

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[Linking up with Peas & Crayons]

What’s something delicious you ate this week?

Smart Coffee App Review

I’ve been a fan of coffee for many years. In fact, my love for it first began to brew (pun intended) when I was a teenager and would wake up early during holiday breaks to have a cup of coffee with my dad while reading the newspaper.

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In college, I grew to appreciate coffee on a new level—it kept me awake during late night study sessions (or early morning recovery sessions, depending on the occasion).

Now that I’m a busy, working mother, coffee = life. Family time aside, there’s little that I appreciate and cherish more than a piping hot mug of coffee to start my day.

Naturally, I was intrigued when a representative from AH-Global contacted me about reviewing the Smart Coffee app.

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Created by specialty coffee roasting pioneer, Paul Katzeff, this easy-to-use mobile app helps you find your perfect brew by answering questions about flavor profile, acidity, and mouthfeel.

The app also includes a glossary of coffee lingo, photos of Katzeff’s professional journey, an archive of your past blend recommendations, and much more.

Smart Coffee

You can order coffee directly from the Thanksgiving Coffee Co. or use the app to find your perfect blend in your local grocery or coffee house.

I had a hard time answering the questions about my taste preferences (“strong,” “bitter,” and “dark” are how I’ve always thought my coffee should taste!), but I narrowed it down to a “heavy/earthy” feel and with hints of chocolate, nuttiness, and toastiness.

As it turns out, I prefer a 70% medium and 30% Vienna roast. A medium roast still allows the coffee’s terroire and nuances to shine through, and the darker, Vienna roast creates a toasty flavor. I opted to try the Permata Gayo French Roast from Sumatra.

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The coffee itself was not as bold and flavorful as I’d hoped (it was probably too dark), but we enjoyed it nevertheless. Since I chose “chocolate,” “nutty,” and “toasty,” as the flavors I preferred, I think I may actually go for something with a subtle fruitiness and sweetness instead. The heavier mouthfeel was on point, though.

Download your own Smart Coffee app in the App Store. With enough use, you’ll graduate from Average (Cup of) Joe to Coffee Connoisseur.

**I received a coffee sample free of charge in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**