My Top 5

The go-to conversation starter in my inner circle as of late is what are your top 5. Top 5 movies first, which then leads into TV Shows. But, I also love to find out peoples generic top 5 things in life.  Here are mine.

image  via

image via

Movies: 
1.  Father of the Bride Part II (The part 2 part is very important. I love the first one but the second one reigns supreme)
2.  It’s Complicated
3.  You’ve Got Mail
4.  That Thing You Do
5.  Remember the Titans

TV Shows:
1.  Gilmore Girls
2.  Barefoot Contessa
3.  The Hills/Laguna Beach
4.  Parenthood
5.  Friday Night Lights

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In General: 
1.  Mornings (I sleep with my blinds open because I love being woken up by the sun. I’ve been an early riser my whole life. I used to get annoyed I couldn’t sleep in and now I love it. I love mornings so much I even wrote whole posts on them you can read here and here.
2.  Washington D.C.  My love for this city will never die. 
3.  Watching Food Network (especially on Saturday mornings in bed with a cup of coffee or tea)
4.  Cooking/Baking (duh)
5.  That feeling when you slip between the covers and lay your head on your pillow after a long day. 

Your turn. Let me here it in the comments below! 

Annie

What's In My Bag?

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I've always loved those articles in magazines "what's in their bag," that give you a peak inside what a celebrity carries in their purse. Maybe it's creepy that I enjoy knowing what somewhere totes around all day, but I'm also the weirdo that loves knowing what's in someone's fridge. It says a lot about a person.

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Purse: Who What Wear Mini Shopper

Snacks: RX Kids bar, these are the best purse size snack. I try to always have a bar or baggy of nuts in my car or purse. #alwayspacksnack I also often have tea bags in my purse and work bag. It's an easy way to cure the mid-day slump and cure my issue of always being cold. 

Brush: Conair mini brush. The one thing that is ALWAYS in my purse, and always gets transferred from day to evening bag too. A quick brush through your hair can really make you feel better.

Sunglasses: Cheaper than cheap from Forever 21. Despite the fact that I have a really good track record with sunglasses, I still can't bring myself to spend money on them. These were $3. 

Meds: Epi-pen, inhaler, Benadryl, allergies are fun! 

Gum: Extra Spearmint, each piece eaten in 1/3s cause I'm a freak. But hey, it makes a pack last almost 3 weeks, but the amount of gum wrappers I accumulate are uncanny. 

Lips: e.l.f Aqua Beauty Lip Stain in Dewy Berry and Rouge Radiance (creates this watercolor type lip stain that I love), Glossier coconut balm dotcom, MAC lipstick in twig, and Dior Addict Lip Glow (the coolest lip stain that enhances your natural lip color). 

Wallet: Mine is a discontinued style from SCOUT bags, but I love their stuff so much, find similar options here

This post idea originated back in the fall of 2014 when I was a senior in college. See my first "what's in my bag" here. Honestly not much has changed, at all. Same gum, similar wallet, cheap sunglasses, bright blue purse, and the same pink snakeskin hair brush is still going strong 4 years later. Is that gross?

What's in your bag?

Annie

Annie's Favorite Things Gift Guide

Raise your hand if you used to anxiously tune in to the Oprah Winfrey Show everyday near the end of November in anticipation of it being the "Oprah's Favorite Things" episode. You never knew what day it would air, and neither would the guests in the crowd, until Oprah and her elves would announce it was OPRAH'S. FAVORITE. THINGS!!!! Cue the crowd going wild because they knew they were about to rake in loads of presents that made it on Oprah's Favorite's list. I remember being in middle school turning the TV on at 4PM and going crazy when it would be this special episode. 

Oprah makes a list of her favorite things and then gives everyone in the audience one of each of those things. Ranging in price anywhere from $30 to $3,000+! RIP the Oprah Winfrey Show and long live the year when she gave everyone their very own VW Bug. "You get a car! You get a car!" 

I wanted to curate a gift guide for the blog this year. Inspired by Oprah, I bring you, Annie's Favorite Things! These are all things I own and love and want you to know about. They range in price and genre, fitting for stocking stuffers to nicer gifts.

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Click through the gallery below to shop the items on my list!

A little background: my Le Cruset makes me feel like Ina Garten (and yes mine is pink), these coil hair ties are everything and give you the perfect perky pony, I love my mini SCOUT wallet, it's perfect for going day to night (disclosure this isn't the exact one I have but they don't sell mine anymore).

The CocoKind Matcha stick is a magic dry skin healer/under eye de-puffer, this MAC lipstick in TWIG is my everyday/every night color. I love changing my Cinema Lightbox for the holidays or with different sayings, these Dolce Vita boots are maybe my most worn thing I've ever bought, the My Little Steamer is a must for every girl, peppermint essential oil gets doused over my forehead when I have a head ache, all over my tummy when I'm bloated and goes into my smoothies for a seasonal boost.

Rails plaid shirts are the softest shirts ever. I proudly own two and I'm flipping out over these pajamas they have this year. The Nutri Ninja is my most used kitchen gadget and makes perfect single size smoothies and protein shakes, these gray sneaks from Target are my best kept secret, the Healthy Human tumblers are a chic version of a Yeti and what I drink my water and smoothies and tea from errrrryday, keeps them ice cold or piping hot. Lastly this is the best (and cheapest) dry shampoo ever just make sure you get it in the "fresh" scent.

You get a Rails shirt, you get a Dolce Vita Over the Knee boot, you get a My Little Steamer!

Happy Holidays!
Annie

Easy Holiday Cheese Board

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So I was annoyingly stressed out these past two weeks thinking about all the holiday events coming up and all the things going on at work to get prepared for the holiday season that I didn't even want to do Friendsgiving. GASP! Friendsgiving is one of my favorite traditions of the past couple years. First headache was gone when my sweet friend Lexy said she would host. Second headache was gone when I decided to bring the easiest cheese board thanks to Hickory Farms

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Quick story time. Me and Hickory Farms go way back. Every year growing up, one of my dad's co-workers would gift his fellow employees with a Hickory Farms gift box. My sister's and I would anxiously await the evening when my dad would come home with the coveted Hickory Farms gift box. We would rip open the box, fight over who got to eat the little strawberry hard candies and then start sampling every meat, cheese and spicy mustard, completely ruining our dinner. 

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I'm often asked what my favorite food is, and struggle to muster up an answer. I could never answer that question with just one thing, but recently I've really been trying to nail down at least my top five favorite foods. So far chili has been put on my list, and after making this epic holiday meat and cheese board for Friendsgiving, it became apparent that cheese boards are also in my top five favorite foods. 

Not only do I love eating meat and cheese boards, I also love making them. But, I will admit going to the store and wandering the cheese aisle can be super daunting. With a million options, textures, colors, names etc. it's overwhelming deciding what cheese and meats to pair. With Hickory Farms Signature Party Planning Gift Box  the stress is gone. Cue the "easy" part of this holiday cheese board.

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Hickory Farms perfectly curates their boxes to make for a perfect holiday cheese board. The Signature Party Planning box consists of four cheeses, three meats and assorted mixed nuts. Exactly what I would purchase if going at it by myself at the store. These amounts will serve about 12 people. Or 10 hungry 20-something girls at Friendsgiving...oops!

My cheese board assembly tips:
-Cut each cheese a different way. Cubes, triangles, slices, crumbles...
-Bring in different textures such as mixed nuts, fruit, crackers, olives or pickles
-Be colorful. Use cheese and meats of different color to keep it visually pleasing.
-Get your greens in. Some kind of fresh herb to contrast all the orange and cream. I used bay leaves because they were on hand. 
-Include some kind of mustard, jam or spread

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Take a slight bit of the holiday stress off buy purchasing a Hickory Farms gift box for your next holiday gathering. Wow your friends and fam with this easy (and epic) cheese board when you show up for Thanksgiving. P.S. If you are last minute and don't have time to order something, and you are local to the OKC area, I know for a fact there is a Hickory Farms kiosk set up right now in Penn Square Mall. It is stocked with tons of meats, cheeses, mustards and pre-selected gift boxes. Cough Thanksgiving is in less than a week cough cough.

Happy holidays from my easy cheese board to yours!

Annie

Thank you to Hickory Farms for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

10 Products I Love & 10 Products to Try at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Oklahoma City

Trader Joe's Oklahoma City

The big league city that is Oklahoma City, and the place I call home is FINALLY getting a Trader Joe's. Officially opening Friday the 23rd at 8am. I can hardly stand the wait. 

I fell in love with TJ's the summer I lived in DC and have been deprived ever since. Anytime I'm on vacation or a weekend trip to Texas, I make a stop at their Trader Joe's to pick up my favorite almond butter and trail mix. It's a full on love affair with this quirky grocery store. I'm not shy to share my love, leading to posts like this...

I'm not the most experience Trader Joe's shopper, for obvious reasons, but I do have some tried and true favorites I pick up on the rare occasions I'm in the same city as a TJ's. Today I'm sharing my 10 faves, as well as 10 items I can't wait to try. I stalk every blog post, article, report, instagram feed, etc. that devotes itself to the best Trader Joe's products. I feel confident I've come up with a well crafted list of things to try.

10 Products I Love:

1. Raw Crunchy Almond Butter This is without a doubt my favorite almond butter. It's very thin and needs a good stir when you open it, but it's perfect for that almond butter drizzle over oats or smoothie bowls all foodgrammers dream of. And #teamcrunchy just cause.

via the trader joes experience 

via the trader joes experience 

2. Cashew Butter Just like the bottle says it's creamy and salty and delicious. Cashews are my favorite nut so I obvi wig out over cashew butter. So great with apple slices, but also perfect for savory things like dipping carrots & broccoli into or for asian sauces. 

3. Rolled Oats This massive bag is so cheap and lasts forever. Makes a great bowl of oatmeal, but I mainly use this big bag more for baking or making granola. 

4. Tomato-Less Corn Salsa With chips dipped straight in or served over tacos, fish, chicken or in taco salad!

5. Macadamias mix Gingerly with Cranberries & Almonds Trail Mix Okay so look past the Omega Trek Mix image and into the background. This was my DC discovery and helped me get through the afternoon slump of my summer internship. The little bits of crystalized ginger are the best part and makes it my favorite trail mix EVER.

6. Feta Dip This one's for you Anna! When I visited Anna this summer I was greeted with a glass of rosé and this feta cheese spread served with pita chips. We scraped the container clean despite the dinner reservations we had.

7. Body Butter TJ's has some sneaky awesome beauty products that shouldn't go overlooked. I picked this up on a whim and it works so well for my dry eczema skin. The pumpkin version is faboo too. 

8. Cookie Butter Cups You live under a rock if you haven't heard of cookie butter. It's kind of like Trader Joe's mascot. Unable to eat Reese's cups, these cookie butter cups are the perfect replacement and most likely better IMO.

9. Greek Yogurt Say hello to my breakfast every morning the summer I lived in DC. At only $0.99 a cup, they were perfect for my wallet and appetite. I love pomegranate and vanilla bean! 

10. Green Tea Mints This was an impulse check out purchase that I didn't regret. Actually so good and great for after lunch. 

10 Products I Want to Try:

1. Bollywood Popcorn 100% buying this. Jai ho!

2. Frozen Falafel Wrapped in a pita with tzatziki? Yes please!

3. Frozen Vegan Tikka Masala I'm not a frozen meal person, but this one is on just about every list. 

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4. Parsnip Chips Intrigued! Dipped in hummus or guac.

5. Honey Sesame Almonds Trader Joe's nut section is dreamy. These almonds, coconut cashews, truffle marcona almonds, chili lime cashews etc. all at the best prices. I can't wait to try these. 

6. Riced Veggies (Cauliflower and Broccoli) To sneak into smoothies or as a rice alternative!

7. Balsamic Glaze Perfect on my Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs.

8. Sweet Potato Gnocchi I tried to make sweet potato gnocchi one time and it was such a fail. I'll leave it up to trusty Trader Joe's instead now. 

9. Vanilla Almond Spiced Chai Protein Smoothie Everything I like in one bottle.

10. Ultra Moisturizing Hand Cream I have the driest hands so this is a must try!

For all you Trader Joe's veterans, any products that are a MUST? Let me know in the comments. For all you readers, get ready for the slew of TJ's products that will soon be seen all over Take A Bite. For all you OKCers, I'll see you Friday. And after you all swoop up a jar of cookie butter make sure you put it to use by making my Cookie Butter Popcorn, Cookie Butter Rice Krispies or just by the spoonful, whatever you prefer. 

p.s. I trust Gaby and Monique with all things food. Check out their full lists of favorites here, here and here

Annie