Just Me aghan

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sweet Sundays: Carrot Chia Coconut Muffin Drops

I bet you thought I forgot about Sunday Sweets, didn't you? Well It has definitely fallen off for a while, my husband brought this to my attention earlier this week. I.E. he said to me something along the lines of "you don't make dessert anymore, you don't love me..." wah wah wah!!

He's right though, I haven't. I guess I haven't been making desserts since I started eating meat again because I am getting more calories from beef and pork and I'm trying to be a little more conscious of my sweets intake now. Honestly, it kind of sucks, and doesn't really seem to be working out. Just because I don't bake desserts, doesn't mean I can't be persuaded into a late night bowl of ice cream or that crazy amazing "fork required" Reese's doughnut from Publix.

So... on a search for a somewhat healthy "dessert" I spent some time concocting these Carrot Chia Coconut Muffin Drops. I call them drops because they don't really rise too much. The shape that you put them in the muffin tin is will be the shape you have when they come out of the oven.


  • 1 c. coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • scant 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 c. apple sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 t. cinnamon (less or more to taste)
  • 1/3 c. coconut oil (or vegetable oil, butter, or margarine)
  • 3 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
  • Juice & pulp from 3 medium sized carrots OR 2/3 c. carrot juice 2/3 c. finely grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl whisk together honey, apple sauce, eggs, milk, oil, carrot juice, and vanilla.

Stir the above 2 mixtures together. Add in the sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon, and carrot pulp.

Scoop batter 3/4 full into greased or lined muffin tins.

Bake for 25 minutes for regular sized muffins, or 15 minutes for mini muffins.

Immediately remove from tin and move to cooling rack.

I'm kind of proud of myself with these, this is the first recipe I've really made on my own. I looked at 4 or 5 recipes for different types of muffins to see the wet to dry ratio and went from there. They came out really good too! The energy from the chia seeds and antioxidant nutrients in the carrots will be a nice kick-start to your Monday morning.

What have you baked lately? Do you like these kinds of posts? Should I bring this column back to Just Me aghan? Let me know in the comments below! :)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fashion Friday: Floppy Hats in the Sun

Whether you're sitting on the beach, or under an umbrella eating fish tacos and sipping on a frozen cocktail a floppy hat is a definite must in the summer. It adds an air of sophistication to any outfit and protects your face from the scorching rays of the sun, double win!

From the Archives for the Surf Station's GND shop.
Here are a few of my current favorites how I would style them. The felt hats may be a little warm for the beach, but your can surely catch me strolling around the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine in them.
The "do not disturb" hat above made me laugh. I imagine sitting on the beach in my chair with the brim pulled low. Out of my price range though with a $440 price tag. (!)

Are you a hat person more so in the warmer months? 
Other than SPF how do you protect yourself from the sun?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thriving Under Thirty: Jessica Sutton, Self-Employed Personal Trainer

Jessica Sutton, a local personal trainer in St. Augustine is the feature for today's Thriving Under Thirty post.  A fellow Flagler College alumna, Jessica is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and currently self-employed. She spends between 8 and 10 hours a day training clients one-on-one, two-on-one, and in small groups. Jessica took some time to provide tips on working out and to explain what it's like to be a trainer.

St. Augustine Personal Trainer, Jessica Sutton
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together.”
What attracted you to personal training? 

I was graduating from Flagler College with a Business and Finance Degree when Brandon Rahe owner of GO HQ, gave me an opportunity. Brandon became my mentor and largely contributed to my success as a trainer. I was able to gain the knowledge needed and also find personal growth/strength to adequately train a variety of clients through being a part of GO for my first three years as a trainer.

What is an average day like for you?

I work a split shift, meaning I have clients 6-noon and then have a break and return in the afternoon for clients from 4-7pm (estimates).

Training myself is sporadic at best. I tend to take the occasional opportunity to train if a client cancels last minute in the middle of my shift but I have more time in the middle of the day before I go back for my second shift. In an ideal world, I would train early in the morning -it's the best way to start your day in my opinion!

People in the gym are always surprised to see me working out and like to comment: "Oh, the trainer is training herself!" I like to show people that I am human too...just because I am trainer doesn't mean anything is 'easy' for me!

I think an important part of training and even life in general is figuring out what you are bad at. I have found out (the hard way -through trial and error) that I am not great at the nutrition portion of my own training and since it's such an important part, I have found a solution to my problem: I order pre-packaged/pre portioned meals to help keep me on track. Nutrition is extremely specific to each individual person therefore I would recommend hiring a certified Nutritionist/Dietician for specific meal planning.

Personal Trainer, St. Augustine

What do you like most about personal training?

The 'personal' part of personal training is definitely my favorite. I have developed so many long lasting relationships with my clients who I always refer to as my friends if not even as my extended family!

Each client is so individually different and that makes the challenge even more rewarding to help each client accomplish the specific goals they are looking for. One of my biggest career successes thus far is helping a business owner/wife/mother of five! lose 130 pounds to gain back her quality of life.

ALL of the other significant achievements each of my clients accomplishes add up to make every day rewarding for us. Crossing the finish line at their first running race, the look of awe when they do a set of push ups from their toes or even just showing up to their appointments ready and willing to be trained.

st augustine, women who work out

What is your favorite motivational quote?

“Do the best you can until you know better. And then when you know better do better.” –Maya Angelou

If a reader is trying to establish a new habit of training, what is the best piece of advice you could give them?

You cannot drive a car without an engine. Before you start stressing over supplements, if you have the newest glitter speckled Lululemon leggings... have you even sweated yet today? Start (overly) basic. Get moving!

And as with anything in life, be willing to ask for help! Remember: fitness is ever evolving!

You don’t have to figure it out all once but you must be willing to continue to keep putting forth constant, intentional effort to reach your goals. And if you ever deviate –jump right back in and try again.

How do you promote your services?

The best advertisement in a small town is word of mouth. I am thankful to have my 'regulars' (I still train my first ever one-on-one client) and am constantly being referred clients or recommended to new clients. Also spending 40(+) hours in a gym a week, I get random run-ins at local places: 'Hey, aren't you the trainer at the gym?'

Is there a certain type of workout you focus on with your clients?

Each workout is so individual to the specific client but the concepts all stay the same. I tend to focus on functional movements for most clients.

I whole-heartedly believe that you should never miss out on an experience just because you feel like you weren't ready in relation to your fitness level. You should strive for a life of balance and level of fitness that always makes it possible to go do the things you love or things you have always wanted to do.

Pink Up the Pace, Jessica Sutton

What is the hardest part of running your own business?

I always say I wish I could clone myself. I am sure my clients would beg to differ, but there just aren't enough hours in the day!

When you do what you love, the stresses and obstacles seem smaller and more manageable to accomplish the tasks associated. Things always seem to have a way of working themselves out when you are positive and secure in knowing you are doing things the best way (for you) possible.

Other than working out, what do you like to do in your free time?

Yoga definitely counts as working out but I have been spending a lot of my free time practicing Bikram Yoga at BYSA. I think it's a very humbling experience to be quiet and focus on only your self in a mirror for 90 minutes. I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of taking the time to focus on inner peace and flexibility.

Jessica Sutton, Saint Augustine, FL

Jessica Sutton
Personal Trainer
If you are located in St. Augustine and looking for a trainer to help motivate you for bikini season (which is pretty much starting this month!) contact Jessica. Her positive attitude, lenient scheduling options, and drive to help others achieve their goals will surely be a major help in realizing your own.

I will continue to bring you interviews with successful individuals 
under  (I'm getting old) around the age of thirty. If you or someone you know might 
be interested in being featured in a Thriving under Thirty piece please email meaghanmae@gmail.com. 
St. Augustine Creatives I'm talking to you!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fashion Friday: Wide Leg Pants

The cycle of pant leg diameter amuses me. I remember in middle school thinking how dorky my Mom's straight leg, ankle length, colored denim was. I thought she needed to wear flares, then bell bottoms, then wide legs. Now jumping forward to current day... I would rock her colored skinnies any day!

I really think the wide legs are about to come back for the mass market this year. I'm not talking Jnco Jeans here people, I mean high waisted, fitted until just above your thigh, followed by a major widening.

I'm on board with this trend and it's been on the runways for a while now. The professional look, as well as the beachy lower waisted ones will surely be added to my closet this year. 

What do you think? Are you ready for wide legs to make their comeback?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue

When picking a venue for your wedding it is best to do your research. You need to consider all aspects of what you are looking for in the space from lighting to floor type before you start going out on site visits.

His and Hers Wedding Rings
The biggest thing to consider will be your budget. Before you even decide whether you want the wedding to be indoors or outdoors, discuss the wedding funds with all those involved. Keep that number in mind while looking, there is nothing worse than finding the location of your dreams only to find out it is three times above what you are able to pay.

How you distribute your budget will affect the location you chose. If you are more interested in having an extravagant cake or a five course meal at your reception, you will need to consider that when searching for a  venue. Before you even visit the venue, find out what is included. Many places will offer catering, and have “suggestions” for the DJ, Event Planner, and Bakery that they have worked well with in the past. Often times those are extra parts of your wedding that you will have to hire out in addition to the venue.

If there is a caterer onsite you are required to use - clarify what their minimum is per guest, minimum guest count, and what you will be charged if you do not reach that number. Aiming for a wedding with more than 150 people? Then find out what their maximum occupancy is. There is nothing worse than searching online, finding a venue you fall in love with only to arrive and be disappointed.

Your wedding is all about you and your soon to be hubby, but you do need to think about your guests. If there are out of town guests, are there hotels in the area? Is there ample parking, or is the venue within walking distance of said hotels? If there are older guests, is there wheel chair accessibility? These are all questions you will need to consider in narrowing down your location.

Waterfront Wedding in JamaicaNow that you have sifted out the venues that really won’t work, you should have a more manageable list of options. Time for the fun part!What do you and your significant other want? Natural lighting is a gorgeous feature, but sometimes hiring a lighting specialist who can do uplighting and add drapery will make a dark facility pop and bring it back in line with your wedding vision. Are you more about the photos, the party, or a little bit of both? If the photos are at the top of your list consider a place with a view, if the party part of your wedding excites you find out about the noise ordinances in the area.

This is not an inclusive list, however these are the main items you need to consider in choosing a wedding venue. Congratulations on your engagement and best of luck finding the perfect venue for your Cinderella dream wedding!

Congratulations to my little sister on her engagement on Valentine's Day this past weekend!! :)

The future Mr. & Mrs. Trifone