Saturday, July 29, 2017

Quest Hero Bars Review!

I can be your hero baby. I can kiss away the pain.

Too far?

Can Quest live up to being a hero??

I've been a long time fan of Quest bars. I liked (and still do) the original style protein bars they made that are chewy and chunky and can be baked into cookies. They've definitely improved on having consistently good texture and chunkiness. The newer flavors are fantastic too! But they didn't stop there. Quest recently came out with a "Cereal Bar". This bar was a lighter bar with a crunchy cereal type texture. Many people really enjoyed these bars, myself included. At about 100 calories, these are a nice light snack that packs a pretty good protein punch. (Alliteration much?)

THEN, Quest did it again. They came out with the Hero bars and they really hyped it up on social media. Could it live up to the hype?

I, personally, really enjoy them! The interior of the bars is just like the cereal bars. It is layered with a caramel, or blueberry coating and then finally a chocolate or vanilla coating all over the entire bar. So basically, it seems like a candy bar.

Blueberry: 170 calories 17p/7f/30gc (4g net carbs)*

The center tastes like the waffle cereal bar which basically tastes like a sweet waffle. It has a nice crunchy texture. Then, it had a very sweet blueberry gooey middle and was finished off with a very sweet white chocolate protein coating. I noticed no weird aftertastes. I think the combination of gooey, crunchy and sweet coating makes a really good combination. I really liked it, but beware, it's very sweet!

Vanilla Caramel: 180 calories 16p/9f/29c (4g net carbs)*

The center cereal bar in this one also tasted like the waffle cereal bar. Instead of the blueberry filling, it has a gooey caramel layer. This is also very sweet. It also has a white chocolate protein coating. I felt that this and the blueberry were quite similar. According to the description, there are almonds somewhere in there, but I honestly haven't noticed. I still enjoyed it though!

Chocolate Caramel Pecan:  200 calories 15p/11f/27c (4g net carbs)*

Snickers, watch out. This bar has a chocolate crunchy cereal bar center with pecans studded throughout, layered with ooey, gooey caramel and finished off with a chocolate protein coating. This bar is still pretty sweet, but I find chocolate things are often less sweet than vanilla things, in my opinion. I actually noticed the tiny pecan pieces in this bar (versus the almonds in the vanilla caramel) and I think it was a really tasty bar overall.

Overall, I think Quest did a great job coming out with something new and very different from their original type of protein bars. These are similar to a candy bar alternative, can satisfy a hardcore sweet tooth, and provide a symphony of textures!

Have you tried the new Quest Hero bars - which is your favorite flavor? Do you prefer the OG Quest bars, cereal bars, or Hero bars?

Endnote: These bars are sweetened with a combination of allulose and erythritol. Allulose is a new sweetener that has .4 calories per gram (1/10 the calories of sugar). It is found in small quantities in nature in things like maple syrup, figs, and raisins. The FDA requires all sugars be listed in the sugar section on the nutrition label despite it having 1/10 the calories. The net carbs provided by quest subtract the erythritol, allulose and fiber.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rainbow Falls Hike, NC

I finally went on a new hike!

Rainbow Falls - 150 ft falls
I really enjoy hiking but sometimes it's hard to find new places to hike within driving distance to my house. Last weekend, my mom and I took a little trip to Asheville, NC. We started our day with paddle boarding on the French Broad River which I highly recommend. The river was peaceful and it was so much fun! After paddle boarding, we decided to go for a hike! We quickly took to Google to find a relatively close hike. The tricky thing is, if you google hikes near Asheville, websites list hikes up to 100 miles away! Um, no thank you, Google.

However, we found a hike about 50 minutes away which is doable! The hike was Rainbow Falls! I love a good waterfall hike. This actually had two sets of waterfalls!

Rainbow Falls is the larger set of falls, about 1.5 miles from the parking area at Gorges State Park. The hike is mostly downhill and stays pretty close to the Horsepasture River. There are a lot of places you could probably get down to the river and sneak a peek at the falls or a dip in the river.

When you arrive at a platform, you have a great view of the falls and we felt a much-needed mist! We took our selfie and moved on to the smaller, second set of falls.

Turtleback Falls is the second set of waterfalls, about .25 miles further. This portion is mostly uphill but nothing too hard. People slide down the falls and jump into the swimming area below. It looked really fun but we weren't equipped for that. I would recommend taking water shoes, a towel, and wearing a bathing suit. You could even bring some snacks or picnic to relax because there are a lot of places to sit and swim.

Turtleback Falls and Swimming Area
Since the way there was mostly downhill, the return is mostly uphill. There are only a few stairs in the whole hike and I didn't think it was crazy difficult anywhere, although I certainly worked up a sweat.

Overall, I would definitely do this hike again and hopefully remember swim shoes!

Do you like hiking? Would you slide down those falls?

Just watching today!

Between the Falls
 P.S. I didn't see a rainbow. :(
Check out this site for directions and details about this hike:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tips and Tricks for Awesome Daytrips!

I absolutely love just taking off for a day trip! I often don't have the time or money to spend the night and make a whole vacation out of a trip but that doesn't mean I can't explore new places and travel often.

I have the benefit of living in the Piedmont region of North Carolina so the coast is 3-4 hours away and mountains are 2-4 hours away so both options are feasible for day trips! I also enjoy visiting different urban cities! You'll find them to be full of culture, cuisine, entertainment and sometimes, history!

So just how do I prepare for successful day trips? Well, my mom and I have it down to a science! Here are a few tips and tricks for your next day trip, whether it be spontaneous or more planned out:

1. Pick your location based off of weather and your main activity.

This can be tricky because the weather can change on a whim but try to avoid massive disappointment if at all possible. Choosing based off of main activity is fairly obvious but if I want to hike, we head for the mountains, if I want to soak up the sun, maybe the beach. If I want to explore and shop, maybe a city! But you have to pick one! Sometimes, trying to be spontaneous, we can't decide where we want to go and we waste time. Be decisive! It may also be helpful to review directions beforehand in case of bad signal for your GPS.

2. Check public parking, entry fees, etc. 

It's nice to know where you can park, what the cost is, where the most central location is, etc. It's also good to know the fees of places you may go to such as state parks. Keep in mind that these places may have seasonal rates and may only accept cash. 

3. Pack food and water!

Jerky, dried fruit, nuts, and protein bars make great on the go snacks. Fresh fruit and cheese sticks, etc are great snacks if you're bringing a cooler (recommended). Be sure to also pack plenty of water and any other drinks you may want. Gas stations have a hefty price tag for convenience so be prepared. Also, you will need to decide if you want to take meals, eat out, or try to be there and back with no meals, just snacks! We often visit a chain sandwich shop for dinner on our day trips because it's a fairly quick and inexpensive option. If we leave before lunch, I'll typically take something to eat in the car. Don't overthink it or you'll waste precious time!

4. Bug sprays, sunblock, first aid, etc. 

Be prepared for anything! We go hiking often so we have these basic items stored in our hiking backpack. Use your judgment what things like these will be applicable to your destination. For instance, I wouldn't take bug spray to explore a city!

5. Pack spare clothes and think of places to change. 

Weather can change on a dime. You can get sweaty as all get out. The crusty swimsuit can start to chafe. I ALWAYS bring an extra set of clothes. Maybe I want to wear something nicer to dinner or perhaps I want to be more comfortable on the ride home. Spare clothes come in handy. I also usually bring extra layers (i.e. jackets, flannels, hats, gloves, etc.), especially in the winter just in case I should feel cold! On the same note, you don't need to pack for a week. It will be a pain to lug around unnecessary baggage so be moderate but be prepared. 

6. Have a basic plan. Check hours. Have fun!

Overall, just have some sort of plan as to where you're going and why. If you plan to visit a specific park, specific thrift shop, a specific restaurant, etc. make sure to check their hours. Nothing is worse than planning on going somewhere, driving several hours only to find out they are closed for repairs. Most importantly, have fun! Relax, ride the roller coaster of the unknown, be it getting lost or getting rained on. The fun is in the journey. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you're sure to make lasting memories and experiences!

Do you like to take day trips? What tips do you have?