This is one of my favorite meals that is Gluten Free! Since becoming completely GF at the beginning of this year (except for the occasional craft beer and pasta date night), it's been a challenge sometimes to find a variety of meals that are gluten free and also something my husband will enjoy! This is one of those meals - it's filling, healthful, and best of all - easy to make!

Turkey Meatball Zoodle Pasta

Serves 2-3


Organic ground turkey


1-1.5 containers of zucchini noodles (or, if you have a spiralizer, you can make your own! I like this meal to be heavier on the noodle side, so I get two cartons of zoodles)


1 egg


• 1 Jar of organic, no sugar marinara sauce

• 1 cup of Gluten Free bread crumbs

Oils & Spices:

1 tbsp olive oil or 1tbsp grass fed butter

2 tsp Cumin

1-2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

1-2 tsp Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add ground turkey, seasoning, and egg into a bowl. Mix (I like to use my hands to incorporate all the ingredients) Add bread crumbs and gently fold mixture together. Use a spoon to scoop out the turkey mixture to form into a ball. Add to baking sheet. Place into oven for 25-30 minutes or until fully cooked.

Add olive oil/butter to a skillet and turn to low heat. Wash zoodles and gently pat dry to soak up excess water. Add zoodles to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until zoodles are darker green and softened. After zoodles are cooked through, set to the side and prepare marinara sauce in a small saucepan, heating through by medium heat.

Remove meatballs from oven and let rest. Plate zoodles, add meatballs, and top with marinara sauce - option to add cheese. Enjoy!

If you try it, make sure to tag me on social media so I can see your variation!


patty lauren

It's that time again - the annual Nordy sale. It's the sale where some of the best selling, tried-and-true favorites go on sale, and some at a very deep discount! Over the next week, I am going to be sharing my favorite Nordstrom sale items ranging from athletic wear to beauty products.

The details: If you are a Nordstrom card holder, you can have access as early as August 4th for select members or August 13th for all cardmembers. If you're like me and do not have a Nordy card, you'll have access starting August 19th. You will see a lot of bloggers push you to become a cardholder to get this early access, but I will never do that here. I do not use credit cards and don't believe going into debt over a clothing/accessory sale. So, with that said... let's get started!

Athletic Wear Sale Items

ON Cloudflow Running Shoe

I'm going to start with my favorite items because if you don't purchase anything else from this sale, these are a must! The ON Cloudflow Running Shoe is on major sale - ya'll, I have NEVER seen these sneaks on sale. I bought my first pair this summer and quickly bought another one. They are Swiss made and as cliche as it sounds, feel like you're walking/running on little puffballs of clouds. They have really changed my running game and I've never had pain or any discomfort - even on my longest runs! They usually retail for $139.95 and are on sale for $83.90!

ON Cloud X Running Shoe

There's not just one pair of ON shoes for sale, but TWO. These Cloud X are my favorite pair of shoes for running errands and training clients, but they can also crossover for HIIT workouts, runs, a strength training session! They usually retail for $139.95 and are on sale for $99.90

Easy, Breezy Tanks

Honestly, you can't go wrong with summer tanks anytime because you will always wear need tanks and this is a great time to snag some great ones on sale! I'm a little picky about my workout tops - I don't like them to be too long so they don't hang down during workouts and get tangled in equipment or in my way. That's why my two favorite Nordy sale picks are slightly cropped!

Sweaty Beatty Cropped Tank

Can you guys tell my favorite color right now is the eye popping chartreuse? How cute would this Sweaty Beatty cropped tank look with the ON shoes?! I love that the tank is barely cropped in the front and a little longer in the back. This tank retails for $48, but is on sale for $32.90

Free People Love Tie Dye Tank

This cute Free People tank is meant to be a little more loose and flowy -

perfect for a hot yoga session or a long run! This tank usually retails for $58, but is on sale for $37.90.

Legs for Days

Leggings are usually a hard sell for me - they have to be high quality, don't ride down, and keep me feeling good from coaching to running to lounging! These are my top 3 picks from the Nordstrom sale for legging must haves.

  1. Sweaty Beatty High Shine Sculpt Leggings

Aside from coming in this gorgeous steele blue called "Beetle Blue", these Sweaty Beatty leggings are high rise and have stellar reviews from people who have purchased them. I am really excited about getting a pair of these and breaking them in! One of the things I love about the high shine leggings is they are great transition pieces from daytime to evening - you can toss on a cute oversized crop sweater and sandals and easily make this a drinks on the patio look. They normally retail for $94, but are on sale for $59.90.

2. Alo High Waist Moto Leggings

I hope ya'll aren't surprised this is another pair of high waisted leggings - high waisted is life! I have these Alo High Waist Moto Leggings in Gray, but I am loving this deep blue Midnight color. They are soft and comfortable - they don't have the most compression so I love wearing these to coach/train and for workouts like yoga and Lagree! They have mesh panels to help keep you cool while the moto design gives these leggings a bit of an edge - they're one of my most complimented pairs of leggings I own. They normally retail for $114, but are on sale $75.90.

3. Alo Airlift High Waist Leggings

Oh, guess what - another pair of high waisted leggings!! These Alo Airlift High Waist Leggings are a versatile pair of high waiters as you can fold over the top to make them more of a mid-rise fit. The Limestone color is a perfect shade for fall and the leggings have a "second-skin fit feature smooth flatlock seams" which is flattering to all shapes. Their close fit makes them a perfect option for more high intensity work, cycling, or hot yoga! They normally retail for $118 and are on sale for $78.90.

Okay, ya'll! That concludes my favorite athletic wear items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!! I hope you find some great deals or maybe try a brand you haven't gotten to try before. When you shop with me using my links, I will receive a small commission and know that I greatly appreciate it! I wanted to pick things I truly love or like and items that will not break the bank while still being high quality and fashionable as we navigate new ways to workout!


patty lauren

Traveling this year has not been what any of us travel lovers envisioned. We've cancelled trips, had trips cancel on us, lost deposits, we've missed planned milestones, and so much more. The first part of this year we cancelled or called off five trips and, for awhile, we thought this 4th of July trip would be 6th on the chopping block. After lots of deliberation, fact checking, and confidence in our ability to travel safely, we kept the trip. I'm so glad we did.

I first visited Chicago with my sweet Dad when we attended the annual NRA (National Restaurant Association) show - we made it a tradition and 2020 was the first year in almost 5 years we didn't make it. On that first visit, I fell in love. I'd traveled overseas, been to NYC, but nothing compared to Chicago. The people, the views, the food, the vibe - the laidback city feel. When I met B and found out he had a similar love of Chi town - well, it was meant to be. I often get comments and "advice" about how dangerous Chicago is and why would I love it. This makes me so sad - these comments are usually from people who have never visited and only read news stories highlighting crime or from people who haven't ventured very far from their airport or hotel.

Every major city has flaws, has crime, has places you probably shouldn't go as a visitor or at certain times. To let those things rule your travel experiences is to snuff out a world of culture and magic. Don't let fear run your life, my friend. Each day is a gift.

Now... to the new way to travel!


For our direct flight from McGhee Tyson Airport (Knoxville) to Midway International Airport (Chicago), we flew Allegiant. Allegiant announced last year they would be offering direct flights to CHI in 2020 so that has been something we have looked forward to since we visit Chicago often. Compare almost $300 for one round trip ticket flying AA/Delta/United into O'Hare to $75 one round trip flying Allegiant into Midway. I found Midway is actually a lot easier to get in and out of + it is closer to downtown than O'Hare.

Allegiant did an excellent job in separating passengers and making sure everyone was wearing a mask and handing out free, sealed masks to all passengers. Each group had a row to themselves - so for two of us, we had two seats together and the third seat was empty. If passengers were traveling alone, they were the only ones in their row.

The flight crew did their best to ask everyone not to crowd each other in the aisles but that was not taken to heart by most passengers. I booked our flights early to ensure we had seats at the front of the plane and could be the last ones on (they board from the back up) and the first ones off. It is a nominal fee to upgrade your seating and, to me, worth it in this current climate if you choose to fly. Beverages and snacks were served, for a charge.


Public transit (especially the CTA) is my favorite way to travel in large cities, hands down. However, much to B's dismay (totally kidding - he hates public trans) we decided to skip it this time. It would have been several times in enclosed spaces with several people and we felt it was smarter this trip to hit pause. We did take a handful of Lyfts and that felt comfortable - drivers and riders are required to wear masks and also encouraged to roll windows down for fresh ventilation.

Chicago is a very friendly walking city so we walked pretty much everywhere - 5-7 miles a day and it was great. We got to see the city the best way possible while getting some sunshine and fresh air.


We stayed at the Kimpton Monaco right off Michigan Avenue. For the price point, you are centrally located within walking distance of many things and the CTA is right across the street. Nothing was majorly different staying in the hotel aside from there was no housekeeping. Some places will provide housekeeping services upon request, but they shared they were not allowed to enter the rooms. However, they were more than happy to bring up necessities like extra towels. The room was very clean and the bed was super comfortable - the decor is very colorful with some fun art and a little throwback to old glamour. There is a lot of city noise, but that's one of the reasons I love Chicago.


If you plan to travel this year, my biggest tip is: MAKE RESERVATIONS. If you want brunch, make a reservation. After dinner drinks? Make a reservation. If you do not have a reservation, your chances of dining where you want may be slim. Making reservations also allows you to pick your preferred seating, like outdoor patios, which are often booked. Many establishments are closing early - unless you see they have updated their hours on their website or social media, call ahead and double check.

Something else to get used to is most restaurants/bars are moving to digital menus so it's a good idea to download a free QR code reader to scan at the table, or better yet, look up the menu online. Some restaurants are charging a small percentage fee (4% or less) to help mitigate the billions of dollars lost in the restaurant industry. Lastly, tip generously - I suggest 20-30% and more, where you can. If you are able to travel during this season, think about those who have potentially been without work for months and are struggling to regain footing.


Again, plan ahead. Make sure the places you want to visit are open, find out what their requirements are, etc. As with dining, make reservations everywhere.

Choose activities that allow you to keep distance and are, preferably, outdoors. In Chicago, the Riverwalk is only open for active (exercise) use from 5am-10am - after that, it switches to passive use for dining, drinks, etc. I made the mistake of seeing this but not really seeing it so I tried to go for a run at 10:30am and the gate was locked. Similarly, B and I made plans to have a nightcap on the riverfront one evening and did not make reservations. The website said 11pm, but in all actuality they closed down at 9pm, some even 8pm due to limited business.


In Chicago, masks are mandatory in public areas. If you enter a store/restaurant/bar, you must have on your mask during the entirety of your experience. If you are dining/drinking, obviously you can take it off while seated but if you are moving about in common areas, going to the restroom, exiting you will need to put it back on.

For outside use, I would say it's about 50/50 - half of the people outside walking/exercising have it on, half don't. Some wear it in more dense areas walking in the street, some don't. The nice thing about being outside is you can distance yourself (for the most part) depending on where you are. For the workout class I attended on Saturday morning, masks were mandatory for the entire time and we were spaced out in the room for plenty of distance and space. I knew this going in so I knew what to expect and I felt safe doing so.

In summary

All in all, the best plan is to overplan - at least the things you really want to do on your trip. Call ahead if you need. Your travel experience will go much smoother if you are prepared. Also, go with the flow - things are changing every day so prepare to have to make last minute changes or possible cancellations. The City of Chicago, like many others, cancelled their annual fireworks show at Navy Pier. Sure, it was disappointing, especially going over the holiday, but we had so much fun doing many other activities and making memories in one of our favorite places.

Lastly, be kind. There is so much hate and judgment and negativity in this world. Support and love each other, even when you don't always see eye-to-eye. Life is incredibly short and not one of us is guaranteed a second. Live your life with joy and abandonment - don't cave to fear and mistruths, but instead be vigilant and smart.

I can't wait to share Part 2 with you later this week to talk about some of the yummy food we had and the activities that made this trip so special!


patty lauren