Top Places We Visited in 2017 + Healthy Travel Tips

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walgreens. The opinions and text are all mine.

I was so thankful to be asked by Carusele to participate in a second #SimplyNice campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

As I reflect on the past year, I can’t help but think of how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful places in the US. When Walgreens asked me to write a second inspirational post about their new line of revamped Nice! snacks, I was elated! I love their new packaging and some of their treats even inspired me to start thinking about snacking healthier while we travel.

I love that I can find something that is always delicious at Walgreens, and since they’re located all across the country, it’s easy to shop for healthy Nice! snacks while on the road, making our way towards our next destination. Nice! snacks while on the road, making our way towards our next destination.

Since travel has become SUCH a huge part of our lives, one major goal for 2018 is to incorporate even more travel tips and healthy eating tips into this blog. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year holds! Here’s to a new year!

Nice! at Walgreens - Fun Travel Destinations

Travel can definitely take it out of you as well, so eating healthier while traveling, and drinking lots of water makes a huge difference in how smoothly any trip goes. Our first vacation of 2018 is here in Florida, so I definitely wanted to take the first part of the year to eat healthier and get ready for the beach! Walgreens actually makes it affordable and super convenient to eat healthier! You can even find a huge assortment of vegetarian and vegan baking ingredients like Raw Cashews, Pistachios, and many other nut varieties.

If you’re gluten free, try the AMAZING Organic White Cheddar Puffs – they’re life changing, and perfect for the road since they don’t get your hands (or car for that matter) too messy. Plus, they’re USDA Organic and Non-GMO, which I love.

Nice! products help you live a balanced life to stay on track and indulge without guilt by providing great tastes you can feel good about. Plus, the upfront, labeling and the shopping convenience of Walgreens make Nice! a win.

Below, you can see how we normally pack the car. We always travel with healthy snacks. I tend to get bored with snacks pretty quickly, so I find that if I bring a wider variety of goodies, I am not tempted to run into a gas station to grab something unhealthy.

Healthier Travel Snacks

Below is a list of the top places we visited in 2017, and what I’d recommend in each place. Thanks for following along on our adventures!

The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are filled with all sorts of wonderful opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while getting a bit of exercise too. If you are staying in Key West, make it a goal to walk a few miles each day. It’s super easy to get in the miles in just a few hours, it’s definitely a walking city. Check out shops and restaurants on Duval Street (try Caroline’s Café for a big salad, The Porch for a refreshment, or The Butterfly House to mingle with butterflies, tropical flowers and plants.

If you’re looking for more action and adventure, the Keys offer lots of kayaking, boating, and excursions.

Kayaking near Sugarloaf Key, FL

Me, kayaking near Sugarloaf Key, FL

The dock off our vacation home on Sugarloaf Key, FL

Bobby and Cabbie sitting on dhe dock off our vacation home on Sugarloaf Key, FL

Key West
Kayaking on Summerland Key, FL

Our kayaks at the Sugarloaf Boat Launch

FL Keys

Cave Creek, AZ (Phoenix/Tucson)

I am so fortunate that my dad lives in such a beautiful location. If you’re visiting this area of Arizona, there are hiking trails, as well as tons of great restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities! Closer to Tucson, check out Saguaro National Park, Tap and Bottle, or walking around downtown! If you’re closer to Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Cave Creek, try spending the day walking around Old Town Scottsdale (their historic downtown area, with beautifully renovated buildings and a man riding a horse playing guitar). Cave Creek also has a fun downtown area where you can walk to almost every bar and restaurant, and on Saturdays and Sundays, even catch a rodeo! There is also a vibrant motorcycle culture there unlike anywhere else we have ever been.

Saguaro At Sunset

Saguaro At Sunset

Citrus fruit grows abundantly in Spring and into Summer. Adding a splash of lemon to your water will help you want to drink more water and stay healthy and hydrated! Arizona is very, very dry, so dehydration makes your body work harder to perform.

By walking around areas like Cave Creek, Downtown Scottsdale (both the historic districts and the Scottsdale Fashion Square will make for some amazing exercise)!!

There are lots of golf courses in the Phoenix area, which would be an excellent way to spend the day outdoors and get exercise!

And, if you are more for swimming, May-October would be perfect timing to swim! Our dogs are the only ones brave enough to get into the pool in March, though ☺

Chicago, IL

You will DEFINITELY get your miles in for the weekend when you shop in Chicago. The food culture is amazing in Chicago, and there are actually a ton of healthier restaurants that you can check out.

Chicago is also home to tons of breweries and enough public transportation to get to anywhere in the city. If you’re trying to avoid calories from drinking, try a sampler glass of beer at each one, it’s generally only a few ounces of liquid, and you will get a great taste of what flavors the breweries are all about! A few notable places we love to visit in Chicago include: Revolution Brewing, The Bean, Game At Wrigley Field, Navy Pier, Shopping on State Street (possibly better than Michigan Ave! It’s way less crowded than Michigan Avenue, and has some incredibly amazing stores.

Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago

Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago

The food and drink options are nearly limitless in Chicago!

Begyle Brewing in Chicago, IL

Beygle Brewing, which was also hosting an art show – another good excuse to walk around and explore a new location. Dovetail Brewing, which features 100% lager beers was also close by and super delicious!

Denver, CO Area

Some of our best friends live in the Denver area, and we love visiting them whenever we are in town! It’s always fun having a local tour guide, and they love showing us fun places to hike in the mountains, as well as where to visit in the actual city of Denver. It’s a gorgeous area of the country, and if you enjoy the outdoors, it’s a fun place to be. There are so many camp grounds and hiking trails, and many of them are either free or very reasonably priced. Taking along healthy snacks and TONS of water really does make a huge difference, since it is so arid and at a very high elevation.

CO

Hiking at Guanellas Pass

We love traveling with the dogs – they do encourage us to get outdoors and get active!

The dogs LOVE the endless fresh water, mountain fed streams all over the state.

Healthier food options are everywhere We love visiting a place called The Source, that houses restaurants, bars, gift shops and fine grocery markets.

Ennis, MT

Last but definitely not least, Ennis, Montana has stolen a big part of our hearts! We love the abundant mountain views, the fresh clean air, and the fact that you can hike, fish, four wheel, and visit a ghost town all in one day! We love the Madison Valley and hope to wind up there some day. It’s such an inspirational location, and there are SO many opportunities to get out, get active, and get healthy! Bring your snacks along on a hike and enjoy your day. You might even see a herd of Elk or even antelope – they’re quite majestic.

Nice! Healthier Snack Options

A great way to make sure you keep healthy and happy on your vacations is so stock up on snacks like the Fruit & Nut Trail Mix from Walgreens.

Ennis, MT

Our dogs love snow days more than anything in the world. 2017 provided the Madison Valley and surrounding areas with way more snow than other years, something we learned from the locals.

Lake Ennis in Winter

Lake Ennis is fun in the summertime, and almost more beautiful in winter. We explored the lake and the surrounding areas in late Fall, and ice washed up on shore in rhythmic patterns. The sound reminded me of being near the ocean.

While the area is remote, the beauty of the surrounding area is really all I’d need :)

The dogs in Ennis, MT
Willie's Distillery in Ennis, MT

Walking around down town Ennis, MT is great. The city has really done a wonderful job of preserving the past and offering updated bars restaurants, and shops for a huge influx of visitors in Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Ready to go again!

Remember, pack healthy snacks like Nice! From Walgreens, and always have plenty of water – you won’t want to reach for unhealthy options anymore!

Choose Nice! From Walgreens to stay on track with a healthy new year.

Happy adventuring!

Simply Nice! Revamped Snacking + Boho Decor Ideas For Your Next Party

I was so thankful to be asked by Carusele to participate in the #SimplyNice campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

Hosting a casual and elegant get-together is my favorite way to host friends and family. My friends sure know how to snack, so I always make sure to have extras on hand, too. I have always enjoyed the Nice! Products from Walgreens, and I have been noticing a few ch-ch-ch-changes lately in their packaging and ingredients. They are making a huge effort to offer products that have the best ingredients available. I appreciate this so much, because our local Walgreens is open 24 hours, so a lot of people are depending upon them to offer the very best.

5DB_9827.jpg

With the recent change in weather, going from extreme heat and humidity down to nearly 70 degrees, I am seriously using any excuse to have friends over. We all love to let our dogs play outside, which somehow makes us hungry – that’s when I know it’s time to bring out the snacks and get ready to feast! I feel good about snacking with the new line of Nice!® products from Walgreens.

I like offering guests a wide range of options, and if you’re looking for baking ingredients, look no further – the Premium Raw Mixed Nuts, shown above, feature unsalted cashews, almonds, pecans, and walnuts. I love the idea of baking fresh items for guests, that way the house smells amazing when they arrive!

HOW TO REVAMP YOUR SNACKING

If you are looking to replace those unhealthy or rather boring snacks, head to the snack aisles at Walgreens and you won't be disappointed. Their snacks all have great flavors that are unique to their products, and IU just love them! I also cannot believe how many organic options they have!

Begin by reading the labels. The new Nice!® packaging, available among many departments in the stores, showcases easy-to-reference icons at the top right of the front of every item. This nutrition info is right there to help you make the best decision for you.

SIMPLE - HONEST - DELICIOUS

Above, their motto and also mine! 

I could not believe how many new items they have available locally, and I’m sure I will start seeing even more soon. In this post, I featured newly packaged options like Magic Trail Mix, Chili Lime Cashews, Sesame Sticks, Tri-Colored Tortilla Chips (note - WITHOUT yucky food coloring like the traditional tri-colored chips I've seen), and Root Veggie Chips shown below. I just love the variety of colors in the last two options!

HOW TO REVAMP YOUR PARTY DÉCOR

If you want to impress guests with snacks AND décor, then I created a cute party look that would fit into my life and hopefully yours. I love the idea of casually sitting on floor pillows, so I found the cutest rugs ever and used them for inspiration! I laid down two woven style rugs, and one furry white rug. I also laid out a piece of this amazing crushed velvet material, which I thought would be cute to tie even more color into the look.

Next, I added some cute pillows – the more the BETTER, so use everything you can find J I love the Bohemian aesthetic, but you could use a more rustic or woodland look for a cozy and inviting theme.

I wanted a low sitting table, and did not exactly have one, so I created one myself! On top of a large wooden crate, I simply added a piece of stained wood I already had. This could be made from just about anything sturdy enough to hold your food and drinks without tipping over. I then laid a table runner across the top.

For the flowers, and if you’re planning a beer + snack tasting night, I thought it would be adorable to fill some brown glass growlers with water and fresh flowers (they traditional come from breweries so you can travel home with their beers). I also love how the brown glass and the color of the flowers really make it look more like Fall up in here!

Another fun way to dress up your party would be to provide guests with reusable, cloth napkins rolled up and wrapped with ribbon. I love the Eco-friendly aspect of this, and guests will love the oversized tea towels for their snacking adventures.

YUM!

The video below really does a good job of describing the new Walgreens Nice products and makes them very relatable! 

Another fun item I added to the party was a fuzzy, very light pink colored stool. The whimsical nature of it says so much and really compliments everything well.

Hopefully I have given you some insight on how to revamp your snacking and your party décor! For more ideas, visit me on Pinterest or Instagram. Happy snacking, friends!