Friday Favorites by Mandy

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Friday-Faves-

The last time I wrote a Friday Favorites post, I had not been in a restaurant for a year. It makes me especially happy to now have a restaurant on my favorites list! Read on for my new food obsession, a simple toy that travels well, and things you should order online.

Chatbooks

These little picture books are amazing! I’ve been ordering them for several years, usually two or three books a year. It’s a great way to have photo memories that aren’t just trapped on my phone. My kids love looking through them to reminisce. It’s super easy to just pull the photos straight from your phone, and you can add a caption if you want. They’ll also include the date and location if you choose. After I spent entirely too much time creating a special book documenting my twins’ first year, this simple process was an absolute delight. I can truly create and order a book in 10 minutes, and they have tons of sales.

Chatbooks are a great way to document a special trip or occasion, and they’d make excellent gifts for grandparents.

If you haven’t ordered from Chatbooks before, ask your friends if they have a discount code to share. You’ll both get a discount on your next order. (Or comment on this post, and I’ll send you a code myself! I do not have any affiliation with this company, just a happy customer who wants everyone to get a good deal.)

Take the posed pictures and capture the candid moments — and make sure you get in the photos too. Then order yourself a book. You’ll be glad you did.

City Silo Table + Pantry

Oh, this restaurant makes me so very happy! Every member of my family enjoys the food, and nobody is eating junk when we eat here. My kids recently had the most delicious version of PBJ ever: almond butter, jam, honey, bananas, and goji berries. They also enjoy the grilled cheese. I am hooked on the McSilo breakfast sandwich (served all day). The English muffin has an egg, cheese, avocado spread, spinach, and tempeh – and it is fantastic. I’d never had tempeh before (and I’m still not sure I’m pronouncing it correctly), but now I want to learn some recipes to make this stuff at home.

City Silo has lots of juices, smoothies, wellness elixirs, and coffee options. They also serve wine, beer, and prosecco cocktails. They have veggie and grain bowls, acai bowls, and various burger options. While most of the menu is vegetarian, you can get chicken added to things. But I’m telling you, you’re not going to miss meat with the McSilo! If eggs and cheese are off limits for you, there are plenty of vegan options. The cashew ranch dressing had my ranch-loving kid swooning.

There’s really something for everyone here, whether you are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, or a meat-eater. There are two locations: one in east Memphis on Sanderlin and the other in Saddle Creek in Germantown. Go there now!

The delicious McSilo.

Zenni

When my son needed glasses at age 5, it was hard to stomach the idea of spending a lot on glasses my kid would quite possibly destroy. Enter Zenni. They have the impact-resistant lenses the optometrist said we needed, but at a fraction of the cost. For $60, I got flexible glasses with blue light blocking lenses and a handy strap. You can upload a photo to do a virtual try-on, and they even sent me a little blue-light pen so I could see exactly how it filtered out the light. My husband and I each ordered from Zenni last year when we didn’t feel comfortable going in a store to try on frames. Plus, can you really get a good idea of how glasses look on you when you’re also wearing a mask?

Save yourself some money and get your glasses here! They’ve got a 10% off code on their site for your first purchase.

My son wears these blue ones and loves them.

Plus-Plus Mini Maker Tubes

I snagged two of these tubes at Whole Foods last Christmas, mostly because they were a great size to slip into a stocking and looked cute. I had no idea they’d be such a hit with my boys! These pieces are all the exact same shape and size, and they give you instructions for making a specific thing (like a shark or dinosaur). But you can also just make whatever you want out of them, and my kids get pretty creative. I LOVE that you could use any of the pieces to make any design and don’t need to locate some obscure, tiny piece like with Lego sets. (Seriously, we have SO MANY Lego sets that have been mixed together, and there’s no way someone could actually rebuild a big project once those pieces have been dumped in a bin.)

These are also easy to toss in my bag as a distraction for kids at restaurants.

The mini tubes have 70 pieces and cost $7.99, or you can get a tube with 240 pieces for $14.99 and use your imagination to create masterpieces. Available on Amazon or directly from their site, which has a deal to get 15% off your first order.

Trader Joe’s macarons

Who doesn’t love a macaron? These colorful treats come a dozen to a box for $4.99, and they are frozen. You just leave them out for a few minutes to thaw before eating, and they are delicious. The first time I bought them, the kids and I had a fun taste test to try all the flavors, which I highly recommend. It’s also great portion control: two of these can satisfy a craving for sweets without making me feel guilty. They have a box of chocolate and vanilla, plus an assortment with caramel, pistachio, coconut, lemon, apricot, and fig. Coconut and pistachio are the best, hands down.

 

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