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review

Celebrate Eats

America’s Best Donut Shop

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I love donuts. And I eat a lot of them. I’m always on the hunt for the best donut spot in every city I visit. And given that today is NATIONAL DONUT DAY, I wanted to share one of my ALL-TIME favorite donut spot with you–Holy Donut in Portland, Maine. Also, just so you know, I’m not the only one obsessed with this place. The have only been open since 2012, but have almost 900 reviews on Yelp and manage to maintain a near perfect 4.8/5 rating, Trip Advisor has over 1,200 glowing reviews.

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I found this place on a work trip to Portland as, per usual, I was searching for a great donut spot. Some people go sightseeing to get to know a city—I eat donuts. Lucky for me this place was just around the block from my hotel—SCORE. The first day I went there I restrained myself to two donuts. Little did I know that “moderate” decision would only ignite an obsession for these fantastic donuts. You see, these are not just any old donuts. These made-from-scratch donuts use real Maine potatoes as the (not-so) secret ingredient! Yes, potatoes! Who would have thought?? But I’m convinced this is what makes the donuts magical.

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Their texture is superb. They’re not quite a cake donuts, but not quite a yeast donuts either. It’s a perfect mix of the two. It’s like a loaf of potato bread and a pound cake got together and had a donut baby. It’s soft and moist with a perfect density that is enough to fill you up, but not weigh you down.  I’m a sucker for a maple-bacon donut and these guys hit it out of the park. The sweetness of the dough was not over done and was accented perfectly by a thick maple glaze, studded with small splashes of bacon.  It was wow. The triple berry donut had a bright and flavorful glaze made with real berries that was perfectly sweet, perfectly tart, and equally addicting. But we can’t overlook the simplistic supremacy of the sweet potato donut. Like its fellow donut friends, the sweet potato donut had a perfect moist, dense, but not heavy texture. The simple sweetness of the sweet potato was accented by a subtle cinnamon-spice undertone that made this baby absolutely delicious. Oh yeah, and then they topped it with a sweet glaze–YUM. every bite was filled with culinary satisfaction. And then there’s the dark chocolate sea salt donut…this one was my very favorite. I don’t even think I got a good picture of it because I inhaled it SO FAST. I mean, I don’t have to tell you about the beautiful combination that is dark chocolate and sea salt, but just imagine all of that awesomeness in a donut. The bitterness of the dark chocolate is a perfect balance to the sweetness of the dough and each bite is punched with a hint of sea salt. The salt really ties all the flavors together in medley of sweet and savory. It’s a hands down winner in my book.

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Not only do these donuts taste awesome, but they use fresh, local ingredients in their recipes. In addition to plenty of fresh Maine potatoes, they include the highest quality dark cocoa powder and 60% dark chocolate chips in all chocolate donuts and glazes, and only color their donut glazes with fruit juices or vegetable dyes–no fake colors. And all of the donuts are still hand cut!

Oh these donuts, I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that if you EVER find yourself in Portland MAINE, you’ve GOT to try these donuts. And if you ever see a donut made from potato dough anywhere else, you should probably get three. Potato donuts are LEGIT.

There are two locations in Portland (but do not worry…THIS IS NOT A CHAIN. You people know how I feel about chain restaurants…)

Holy Donut
7 Exchange St
Portland, ME 04101

Holy Donut
194 Park Ave
Portland, ME 04102

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Celebrate Sweet Picks

Baby Shower Sweet Picks

Baby Shower Sweet Picks

Sleep Sheep Sound Machine: Talk about counting sheep to go to sleep! This adorable Sleep Sheep was the ultimate sleep-aid for my little girl when she was still in her crib. The sound machine inside plays a variety of sounds and melodies, and even includes time options that will automatically turn off the sound. The sounds and melodies include: Mother’s Heartbeat, Ocean Waves, Twinkle Twinkle and a Classical Lullaby.  The best part about the Sleep Sheep is you can remove the sound machine and use the Sheep as a snuggly toy. And that also means it’s washable! This is the perfect gift for a brand new mom and one that I give often!
Image Source: Target

aden + anais Swaddle Blankets: Anyone who has used these swaddle blankets can tell you they are the softest and most comfy blankets you will ever find. I wish they made them for adults! Any expecting mother would be so excited to recieve this gift for their new bundle of joy. They are light-weight and breathable, so you can even use them to cover the car seat or stroller. They also come in adorable colors and patterns so you have a lot of variety to choose from.
Image Source: aden +anais

BabyLit Books: You will fall in love at first sight with these adorable children’s books! A compact, cardboard version of your favorite classic books… what’s not to love?! The cover alone is enough to make you fall head over heels for them and lure you into thinking you need every book they ever put out, whether you’ve got kids of your own or not. (I may or may not be guilty of just that.) They are perfect for story time of any age while incorporating the classic book characters we all love. They are my go-to baby gift. Go grab yourself one or two or all of them.
Image Source: BabyLit 

Sweet Picks

Spring Sweet Picks

March 2017 sweet picks

Bridget City Blooms Pillow on White: I have been in love with Caitlin Wilson’s pillows for a long time. I religiously follow her instagram and find myself “double tapping” her photos daily. Her design is simple and her patterns are a perfect balance of polished and whimsical. So when I was thinking about the perfect item for the Spring edition of “sweet picks” this fun, floral pillow popped into my head. It’s colors are bright and clean–without being too loud or over done. The pattern is a breezy floral print and the pillow itself is soft to lounge on. It makes a perfect edition to any couch or bed needing a Spring pick-me-up.

Now, these pillows aren’t cheap, but definitely worth the splurge for one or two (you can get Target or Home Goods pillows to fill in the rest). And if now isn’t the time for a pillow splurge, now you know where to look next time you’re in the market for the perfect accent pillow.
Image Source: Caitlin Wilson

Good Natured Soy Candle: The allure of Anthropologie gets me every time! I can never just walk past the store, I always have to go in and check out all of the amazing stuff they have even if it’s just to window shop. Which is hard to do because I usually want it all! This time I went in to window shop, but as I was browsing around I came across a giant display of cute tins of soy candles and had to smell them all! The one that caught my eye first was the Apricot and Basil one. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this combo to smell like, but I was curious and oh my goodness! One sniff of this candle and I was in LOVE!! IT SMELLS SO GOOOOD!!

You need to make a trip into your local Anthro and smell it! Trust me, your nose will be in heaven! After smelling the others I kept coming back to this one because it smelt so delicious and sweet. I knew I probably wasn’t leaving the store without purchasing this candle. I held onto it as I browsed the rest of the store and as I was looking around, I kept catching myself opening up the candle just to smell it! You know it’s that good when you are walking around the store looking like an addict getting their fix whiffing the candle.
Image Source: Anthropologie

Artificial Plant in Stand Large – Threshold: I’ll admit it, I have a black thumb when it comes to house plants. I even somehow lack the ability to keep catus and succulents alive.  That’s why I have no shame when it comes to decorating my house with artificial plants. And you know what, I’m always in luck because my favorite go-to store (Target of course) always has really beautiful artifical plants that you would never guess aren’t real. This plant is my recent purchase and I love it. It’s very pretty, modern and fits in nicely with the rest of my decor. So if you’re like me and are lacking that green thumb, check out this plant and the others available at Target.
Image Source: Target

Sweet Tips

5 Tips for Riding the North Pole Express

North Pole Express Tips sweetlemonmade.com

This year I had the chance to take my three-year-old daughter Olivia on the North Pole Express. I have heard a lot of great things about this magical experience aboard the Heber Creeper on the Heber Valley Railroad, and was excited to finally check it out for myself. Since it was our first time, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Thanks to some tips from our family and friends, we were able to be prepared for the adventure.

North Pole Express Train sweetlemonmade.com

North Pole Ticket sweetlemonmade.com

The North Pole Express is a 90 minute train ride to the North Pole aboard the Heber Creeper. This adventure mimics the classic tail of the Polar Express. Some kids dress even dress in their Christmas pajamas. Along the journey you can expect to meet Mrs. Clause, eat chocolate chip cookies and sing Christmas carols. Once you reach the Noth Pole, Santa Clause boards the train and meets with every little boy and girl. Olivia had so much fun meeting Santa Clause and singing along with everyone on the train. 

North Pole Train Entrance sweetlemonmade.com
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We want you to have the same great experience, so below are 5 tips to keep in mind when riding the North Pole Express.

  1. Buy Tickets Early: As you might already know, tickets go fast and the North Pole Express will sale out. Tickets go on sale in the early fall, so make note on your calendar to check the website in October for the best dates and times for your family.
  2. Dress Warm: We were worried there wouldn’t be heat on the train, but it was pretty warm. You will however want to bundle up because you will be spending some time outside before and after the train ride. It’s pretty chilly up in Heber in the winter!
  3. Arrive Early: Our train was scheduled for 5:00 but we decided to get there 30 minutes early. This allowed us to check out the gift shop and get situated. We waited in line outside for about 15 minutes and were able to be one of the first ones on the train.
  4. Get the Best Seat: Make sure to sit on the right side of the train. This is the best spot because you will get to see the North Pole and Santa right out your window. If you are on the left side, you can still see, you just have to stand up and move over to the window.
  5. Bring Snacks: The train ride is 90 minutes, which can be a tad long for some kids. It’s hard to get my three-year-old to sit still for 5 minutes, so I brought lots of snacks to keep her occupied. The elf’s bring around cookies and hot chocolate, so you’ll have an added snack for the ride.

Overall we had a great experience on the North Pole Express and will make this a new Christmas tradition. We can’t wait to go again next year and make this a family tradition.

Adventure

8 must-have hiking essentials

camping elements sweetlemonmade.com

Summer might be coming to an end, but that means the best season of all is upon us….fall. There are of course the obvious reasons as to why this is my favorite time of year (hello pumpkin everything) but one reason I love the fall is because I can actually enjoy getting outside and hiking with my family. The temperature is 100 percent more to my liking for being active and you get to enjoy the leaves changing color with the beautiful scenery. 

Lucky for me, my husband is Mr. Outdoors and is always keeping me fully stocked with everything and anything I could possibly need for hiking and camping. Whether I’m planning a short hike or a longer adventure, there are a few items I always bring along.

Flight 18 Peregrine Pack 
This pack is great for easy day trips along the trail. It has a roll-top to keep debris from getting in, but makes it super easy to slide gear in and out through the wide opening. Another plus is you can roll up the excess bag to keep it more compact or even fold it into a zippered pocket to pack down to fit inside a purse or jacket. How awesome is that?!

BugBand
If you hate the smell of bug spray as much as I do, BugBands are a fun way to ward off unwanted insects without a sticky smelly mess. These bands can be worn on your wrist, ankle, backpack or even pet collars and will work for 120 hours. BugBands are safe for kids and come in a lot of fun colors. 

Adventure Medical Kit
The number one thing I always make sure to take with me, NO MATTER WHAT, is a medical kit. The Adventure Medical Kit is awesome because you can restock what you need without wasting money on a whole new kit. They offer a wide variety of kits from 1-person basic kits, to multi-person multi-day rated kits for the big adventures. You can even go as far as getting one that’s waterproof. Believe me, they are worth every penny!

Bear Spray 
My husband always makes fun of me because I’m a nervous nelly when it comes to wildlife, especially with my daughter around. So I tend to keep bear spray with me just in case. 

Petzl Headlamp 
This is an absolute MUST to take on any trip, whether a short hike or big adventure. A head lamp can save your life by either guiding you out of a bad spot if you get lost and end up staying out longer than expected. It can even be used as a signal device  in the event of needing assistance. You never know

Go-girl
If you haven’t heard of this, you’re missing out. The go-girl is awesome. All I can say is it’s a lot easier to use this then figuring out another way to go on a trail. 

Eco-Trekker
If you have some time to kill, this is a great way to relax on the trail or at a campsite. It’s super light making it easy to pack and comes in a variety of colors.

Nalgene Bottle
We love Nalgene in our home because they will not shatter or crack. They are BPA free and come in a million different colors and styles! 

If you’re looking for some fun hiking options around Northern Utah, click here!