Conversations & Fresh Spring Salads

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AquafinaSparkling #CollectiveBias

When I graduated from college (now 7 years ago) I craved community. I missed my girl gang. The friendships that I nurtured those four years – we lived together, we ate together, we went to class together, we vacationed together, we laughed, cried, sung, and celebrated together. It was such a sweet time of community. We were a family that we chose.

Graduating college and moving back home left a void. I just started dating Bruce (so that was a whole new fun thing) and I was states away from my college community. We all needed something so we all started a community group where we could meet every week with some friends and friends of friends in town. While it was so awesome it also didn’t fit the way I thought it should. We were working so hard for community but it isn’t the same as living together in a giant house. We had husbands, children, families, and other friends. For too long I thought we were doing it wrong. I was wondering why this new community didn’t feel the same as the community I shared when I lived with the same girls all through college. I then realized there are different seasons for community and different styles of community.

Even more so, I realized we were closer than I ever realized. We went to each other’s weddings, visited each other at the hospital when babies were born, brought meals by, cried over deaths of loved ones, celebrated new jobs and many birthdays. Our faithfulness over the years knit us together in a different way but it is just as strong.

As Spring blooms here in Colorado, I’m drawn to open windows, fresh salads, crisp drinks, and friendship. Monica is one of those ladies in my life and making time for moments like this are so important. I can easily feel like I need to stay home all day – skipping lunch to check off my to-do list. But there is something special about setting aside time for lunch to be refreshed. In a way, it can make me more productive.

One Wednesday I texted my friend to see if she was up for a spontaneous lunch. Fresh salads filled with fruit are one of my favorite Spring & Summer treats as is Aquafina Sparkling water! I can drink cans of these all day long 😉 They have 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 artificial flavors – AKA the perfect balance of fun with a hint of flavor (at the right price). I stopped at Target on my way over to load up on all the ingredients. Good friends let you use their kitchen to prepare. Good friends don’t need you to be perfect.

We opened up our drinks and chatted as we threw together the salads. Not only do I love how light & fresh salads are but I love how simple they can be. They don’t require us to go to cooking school or watch tutorials. You just make it to taste!



  • Spring Greens
  • Berries (Blueberries and Raspberries were on sale!)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Crasians
  • Candied Almonds
  • Italian Dressing


  1. Clean all fresh fruits & lettuce.
  2. Throw into a bowl.
  3. Add toppings and enjoy!

How to (candied almonds)

  1. Place sliced almonds in a frying pan with a tbs of butter.
  2. Heat on medium for 3-5 minutes until they smell really nutty. Keep stirring to keep them from burning.
  3. In another small bowl, mix 2 Tbs of water with 4 Tbs Sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp of cinnamon.
  4. Add to almonds and stir until all water is evaporated and the almonds are completely coated.
  5. Let cool on wax paper.

Aquafina Sparkling was the perfect treat to add to our salads! Just as light and decadent as they were. It made us feel grown up and very lady like. The conversation was even sweeter. I love the conversations that poor out over shared meals. For more recipes and inspiration click here!

There will be Aquafina Sparkling tastings in certain Target locations across the US – you should totally look for them next time you visit your local Target! PS: If you (like me) whip out your Cartwheel app every time you walk into Target, they have a deal on Aquafina you have to check out! Here is to spring. To friendship, community, celebrations, and sparkling water! Take the time to slow down and be intentional with those around you. I think you’ll find you have more than you realized! Let me know if you try Aquafina Sparkling or this salad! I would love to hear your thoughts!

Author: Oak & Oats

  • That sounds amazing!! I just got mangoes and pineapple but somehow I don’t think those would blend well with Italian dressing 😉 And sparkling water is my new FAVE drink (since I’m extra pregnant and can’t enjoy all the others haha)

  • I love everything about this. You are such a beautiful and amazing friend and I am so blessed to be doing life with you. Cheers to many more lunch dates! Love you girl!!


  • Amy

    Seasons of life are always so interesting and challenging and GOOD.
    I love that you have such deep rooted friendships. <3
    Also, i am a HUGE fruit in salad lover as well as the sparkling waters – soooooo this post is clllll my favorites!