Friday, March 23, 2012

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things"

I'm obsessed with all things original & cute, just like everyone else. Ha! So this week I am posting some of my favorite blogs and why I love them and use them for inspiration for outfits, decorating, recipes, and life.

1. Lauren Conrad This website is full of super cute outfit ideas, pictures, delicious recipes, and so much more! I am constantly on this website, for better or worse. She is all about a green, healthy, balanced lifestyle. She posts frequently, but not so often that it's annoying and her posts are just the right length. Her website also has it's own forum & such, that's a little much for me, but it doesn't distract from her wonderfully inspirational posts. I use this site for day-to-day inspiration.

2. The Pioneer Woman I want my life to be her life. I want to be funny, marry a cowboy, have lots of children, and just cook all day. And be hilarious. But since none of that has come my way yet, I live vicariously through her blog. This website I use for more future reference. Such as, how I wan to raise my children, what recipes I want to cook when I actually have money, etc. But I mainly just read it for pure entertainment. You will not be disappointed. 

3. PSS This website is run by an adorable, medical student. I also want my life to be her life as I am a pre-dental student. But I'll have to actually wait to be in dental school and have money, so until then, I vicariously live through her website. (I promise I do actually have a life, a small one that comes in 2nd to school, but a life none the less). Anywho, she gives great product reviews, I refer to those the most, and great make-up tutorials. Sometime her outfits are a little much for my taste, but I definitely use them as inspiration to get more creative with my own outfits. I also don't dress up that fancy too often, but this website is perfect for girly-girls.

4. Bethenny For all things skinny, visit the Skinnygirl's website, Bethenny Frankel. She posts great recipes, fun party ideas, and so much more. I also personally recommend all of her products, especially her daily cleanse & the 3 original Skinnygirl drinks. I haven't tried the rest yet. I also use her yoga DVD. Her website supports lots of charities & is all about balance & health as well. She is also my guilty pleasure, she is hilarious, inappropriate, & abrasive, but in a good way. Watch her show, Bethenny Ever After, to fully appreciate her humor. It will not let you down.
5. Tadlock101 If you want to know how to have perfect hair & need step-by-step make-up tutorials, this is a great place to find them! The girl that's in them rambles a little bit, & isn't the brightest crayon in the box, but if you can look past that she does know her hair and make-up! She likes to show-off her clothes & shoes too, which are pretty good outfit inspirations (sometimes a little young, but she is younger than me). And since she is still in high-school, all of her stuff is budget friendly. Definitely not a place too look every day, but once in a while is good!

6. People I realize that this is not a blog, but I do use the website to admire celeb outfits, occasionally read the drama in their lives, & get a good laugh (especially with the 10 Best Celeb Quotes of the week). Random, but I do love it. Sometimes. I have to be in the mood to love it.

Hope you find these as helpful as I do! Enjoy!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things"

Colorado will forever and always have a special place in my heart. It is simply impossible to deny God's majesty, power, and grandeur when at the top of a mountain. It is simply amazing.

“Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction - so easy to lapse into - that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.” 
― Robert MacfarlaneMountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit 

“The greatest gift of life on the mountain is time. Time to think or not think, read or not read, scribble or not scribble -- to sleep and cook and walk in the woods, to sit and stare at the shapes of the hills. I produce nothing but words; I consumer nothing but food, a little propane, a little firewood. By being utterly useless in the calculations of the culture at large I become useful, at last, to myself.” 
― Philip Connors 

“The mountains were his masters. They rimmed in life. They were the cup of reality, beyond growth, beyond struggle and death. They were his absolute unity in the midst of eternal change.” 

“What are men to rocks and mountains?” 

I hope the mountains inspire you as much as they inspire me.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy & Healthy

The weather outside has been beautiful! So I have been jogging outside around the park that is right outside my front door, literally! I love it. It's easy to get intimidated, watching lots of people in better shape lapping you, but just remember, you're lapping everyone that's still sitting on their couch! I always like to do some muscle toning, or a little calisthenics (moving stretches) to cool down. I like to do arms weights (I use 10lbs), my favorite Pilates moves, do my Body by Bethanny yoga DVD, sqauts, sit-ups, or sometimes part of my Billy Banks DVD. It all depends on how tired I am that day, if I'm on a rest day (remember, muscles need time to recover, like a day or two, not a week or two unless you're injured). Do what you can! (I'm quoting Bethanny Frankel there, she is my idol when it comes to fitness and food. And margaritas.) If you are super busy, just do light calisthenics, or just part of a workout DVD, or just you-tube a 10 minutes workout! I do that more often than not. So I'm going to share with you some of my favorite you-tube gems that I've found, and other internet fitness treasures!

1. Abs! I love a good abs workout, it makes me instantly feel tighter and trimmer! Besides their skimpy bikini's, this is a great ab workout! You can make it as easy or as hard as you want. They recommend repeating this video three times in a row, but do you whatever you have time to do! 

2. Cardio! All of us have a Rocky inside of us! (Rocky is an obsession of mine, but that's a story for another post.) This is a great 10 minute cardio workout that you can repeat if you have time, or use it as a cool down after a hard run! Do whatever you feel your body needs! Both of these videos are from the same channel on you-tube. If you like them, look up more! I don't like to repeat the same video more than once in a row, it just gets monotonous for me, so I usually find 2 or 3 that I might like and do those back to back. Do you what you like to do!

3. Bikini Body! If you are up for a challenge or like to have a regiment to follow, this is a great website for you! They do a great job of challenging you, and planning a tough but do-able regime. Go to this link if you want to tr it out! They have alot more to their website that I really haven't explored, but it looks great for people dedicated to fitness! LifePlusFitness

4. Trouble spots! If you have a spot that you really want to work on this is a great website to find exercises that will help you tone that troubled area. Exercise Finder

5. Shoes! So, this isn't directly related to fitness, but they are cute running shoes! They are from new balance and are made from 100% recycled material and come in super cute colors! My friends that have them are obsessed with them. These are my next splurge purchase.

Hope this helps inspire y'all to get that happy, healthy body you want!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things"

J. Crew is an obsession of mine. I can't even pretend to deny it. I just got a J. Crew credit card, it was definitely the best/worst decision I've ever made. Anywho, by far my favorite product from J. Crew is their matchstick jeans. They are beyond amazing and fit my body type perfectly! They are skinny jeans, but not super skinny jeans, they're like a cross-breed between skinny and straight leg. I never feel more confident than when I'm wearing perfectly fit jeans, a cute blouse, and adorable flats. So I had the dark-wash matchstick jeans, and wore them seriously 6 days a week for like 2 months. It was rather ridiculous. And then I did an awkward move to get onto my bed to surf the internet and avoid studying...and they ripped. I was probably more upset than I should ever be over a pair of pants, but I was. So I ordered them online again, this time in the dark-wash and the light-wash. They are back-ordered and will take awhile to ship. Again, we come back to the theme of me being more upset over pants than I should be. I thought I would share my treasure with y'all, because I strongly believe the world would be a better place if more people had the perfect jeans.

A sight to behold aren't they?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

G-free Recipes

Gluten Free is the way to be! This cookbook, Deliciously G-Free, is amazing! There is not a single recipe out of here that I haven't absolutely loved. And most of the recipes are high in protein too, which makes you feel fuller and crave carbs less! Win-win, right?

This week I cooked 2 chicken recipes that I'll share with y'all. They were super easy, and involved a lot of the same ingredients (making it budget-friendly) but tasted so different! Both were amazing and I will definitely be making both of them again!

Spanish Chicken, yum!
Spanish Chicken
1 T olive oil
4 bone-in, skin on chicken breast halves (I just used chicken breasts)
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup cured, pitted black olives (I left these out)
4 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I used half a package of grape tomatoes. Use what you have, right?)
1/2 red ion, minced
Juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 t chopped fresh oregano (I used cilantro)
1/4 t granulated sugar
1 13-oz bag G-free tortilla chips

1. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 t of the salt and black pepper, and placed it, skin side down, in the stockpot. Add the yellow onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion starts to soften and the chicken starts to brown. Add the olives and enough water to cover the chicken.

2. Bring to a boil, and then immediately reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to the bone and no longer pink.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the salsa: Place the tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, jalapeno, oregano (cilantro), sugar, and remaining 1/2 t salt in a bowl, and toss to combine.

4. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and reserve the olives. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat and place it on a platter. Layer the olives on top of the chicken. spoon the salsa over the chicken, and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Tequila Lime Chicken Salad
Tequila Limes Chicken Salad. Delicious!
*This one needs to marinate for 24 hours, so plan ahead!

1/2 cup gold tequila (I just used Skinnygirl Margarita, which is the perfect drink to go with this, too!)
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 5-6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 2 oranges) (I just used Florida Natural, saves time)
1 T G-free chili powder
1 T minced, fresh jalapeno (from 1 pepper, seeded)
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
canola oil, for the grill (I used a skillet)

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chopped chili en adobo (I used rotel)
3 T olive oil

2 cups mesclun greens (basically mixed leafy greens, I had to Google that)
2 cups finely shredded red cabbage (I skipped this)

1. Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno, garlic, 1 t salt, and 1 t black pepper in a large bowl, and stir well. Add the chicken breasts, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

2. Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with canola oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. (Again, I just used my skillet, I don't have a grill. Use what you have!)

3. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, season them well with salt and black pepper, and grill them for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. (I poured some of the marinade in the skillet, kept it on medium, and let them cook for about 15 minutes, and flipped them about half-way through.)

4. Turn chicken over and cook for another 10 minutes until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

5. Prepare the dressing: Place the orange juice, chili en adobo (rotel) and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside. (I put it all in  Tupperware and shook it, I like my sauces with texture.)

6. Place the mesclun greens and cabbage in a large bowl or on a platter. Slice the chicken and arrange it over the greens. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

Hope y'all enjoy these recipes as much as I did!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day!

Leap Day is my favorite day of the year! I never do anything spectacular on it, it's more due to my fondness of unique things. So I will be sharing a few of my favorite unique things that I absolutely love!

1,2, 3!
My first 3 favorite things are on the first photo below:
1. Argan oil: absolutely amazing!!! I don't know how I ever survived without this before. Just put a little dab in your hand when your hair is slightly damp and run your fingers through your hair. Your hair will turn instantly soft and silky smooth! Blow dry it, sit in the sauna, it doesn't change! No frizz, no grease, just amazing texture and scent! I used it yesterday, used dry shampoo on top of it today and my hair does not look like second day hair. Simply amazing!
2. Falsies Mascara: Gives your eyelashes the perfect amount of volume and length with one good coat!
3. Naked eye-shadow palate: All amazing, neutral colors! I saw this on several beauty blogs and new I had to have it. You can use any of the colors together and you can't go wrong! So experiment away without fear of being ridiculed! ;)

4. Fossil Watch: I spent years searching for the perfect watch, and found this gem! It has a big face, and kind of a chunky man-watch feel, but still looks very girly. It has just enough "bling" without being gaudy and it goes with absolutely everything! I wear it almost everyday.

 5. Old Navy Scarf: Amazing! I normally don't wear alot of bright colors, but this scarf is the perfect accent piece! It gives the an amazing pop of color without looking out of place! Pair it with any neutral and you can't go wrong.

6. Orchid: This orchid is simply gorgeous! By far the best birthday present I've ever received. (My family is not great an gift-giving unless you buy it yourself, wrap it, and give it to them to give to you). This picture does not do it any justice. Just water once a week with 3 ice cubes and it lasts forever! Makes any room feel more fresh and sophisticated.

7. Purple Candle: My dearest friend Sarah gave this to me years ago on my birthday but it is just too pretty not to share! It's also too pretty to burn, but it's a great shelf-filler!

8. Fuzzy blanket: I refuse to snuggle on the couch with any other blanket now. It is so soft and warm! And so cute and different! I love the pattern, I've never seen one like it before, except on a slide of DNA. (Science nerd in me coming out).

Those are some of my favorite, unique possessions! I hope y'all had an amazing Leap Day and I hope an amazing Leap Year! And remember the most important lessons from Leap Year:
1. Time is fleeting
2. Be unique, be yourself, because everyone else is taken


Monday, February 6, 2012

Journey to Grace

God has overwhelmed me with His love and grace this past month. So many things worked out because of His hand, and I can only imagine what my situation would look like right now without His mercy. I don't deserve His love and I feel ashamed that I need it. I feel guilty for needing Him and His mercy, but I was born a sinner! There is absolutely nothing I can do to change that. And I can't undo the sins that I've already done. But God can change that. He makes us a new creation daily. Daily. How amazing is that? We don't have to live with regret, shame, or guilt. We need to look up to God for His love and grace instead of down into ourselves wherein we only find more guilt and shame. So let go, and let God. We can't change the past, but God can change out future. And remember, it is a journey to grace! Not a journey in a sense that we have to earn His grace or love, but we need to realize we have His unending love and grace already! We are already forgiven! So live in the freedom of His love! If you believe this, live it so that you can show Christ to others through your renewed heart. Live and love radically. Open your heart to His forgiveness and grace, and forgive and love as He does. If you are dealing with guilt, shame or regret, and wondering how God will change your future, here are some references that may help:

1. The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel, especially the chapter 'When you believe in God but are ashamed of your past'

2. II Corinthians 4, the whole thing is wonderful!

3. Look up verses on love! Remember how much He loves you because of who you are, His child, not because of anything you have or haven't done! You are dearly loved and deeply delighted in!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"These Are a Few of My Favorite Things"

While relaxing over Christmas break, I discovered some wonderful products during my shopping adventures!

1. Flowering Cherry stationary by Galison New York. My family has a thing for thank-you cards (I get calls if they don't receive them within two weeks of the event), and I found these at Barnes and Noble. They are adorable, not too frilly, and reasonably priced. There are 10 of them in the pack, just the perfect number for me!  And it comes in an adorable box matching the stationary that can be used for future decorating experiments. 

2. Tresor "In Love" perfume by Lancome. It's smells amazing! I am one of those people that likes to have a signature scent, and when they discontinued my original favorite, JMC by Jessica McClintock, I was lost for about a year in regards to my scent identity. But I found this and I love it more than my first love! It smells fresh and clean, with a hint of fruity. It smells girly, but not nauseatingly so. It's oil-based so it lasts all day, it and is never overwhelming unless you apply it like a prepubescent boy. It's very reasonably priced for a high-end perfume.

3. Bio-oil. I read about this gem in Marie Claire (my magazine/addiction of choice). It is "specialist skincare for scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, aging skin, and dehydrated skin." It is an oil, so make sure you rub it in well and don't use too much, but it's a light oil. So  as long as you give it about 30 seconds to dry it won't get on your clothes at all or make you feel oily. And it really does treat everything it says it does! It takes a couple weeks to work its magic, but when it works, it works well! I have almost every ailment on the list (scars from years of sports, uneven skin tone from life-guarding, etc.) and all have improved drastically! And make sure you apply it every day! The bottle says twice a day, but I think that's over kill.

Let me know if y'all want to know anything else about these products!


Constantly Consistent

I don't know about y'all, but I find change very hard. I am a very consistent person, in some ways that's great (it makes me responsible and reliable) and some ways that's bad (it makes be stubborn and sometimes boring).  I don't know what it is about change, but every time I have to move, or enroll in school, or class gets cancelled, or plans get changed, I feel my mind cringe and my body become tense with nervousness. Trust me, I deal with it way better than I used to but I still could manage some work.
So I realized I wasn't happy where I was in my life. But I didn't want to change anything about my life because change to me is far worse than being miserable. But when my roommate told me she could tell how unhappy I was even though I never really talked about it and tried to hide it, I realized something had to give. Then I ran across this quote: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson. I didn't want to turn into a hobgoblin. So I decided it was time to make a change. I am terrified. I know everything will work out, but moving states, transferring, and  trying to figure everything out in less than 2 weeks-- it's overwhelming to say the least. (I hate change so much I procrastinated dealing with alot until the last minute, not one of my best life moments.) Also, I'm terrified to admit to everyone I'm a total failure! Okay, I'm not a failure, it's just change, but why does change seem like admitting defeat?
So as I sit here, deprived of sleep with knotted stomach and shoulder muscles, I have to force myself to recognize it's not in my control. God is in control and I need to lean on Him and trust His plans and rely on His merciful peace. He has blessed me beyond belief and has kept me alive and well for the last 20 years, so I think He'll do a pretty good job with however many days I have left. And change is what makes the world go round, and it'll keep changing whether I like it or not. And some consistency is good, such as in character, hygiene habits, etc. but everyone needs to allow some change in their life.
So I hope those of you that are struggling with changes or challenges find God's peace and lean on His plans for your future.