Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What I Eat In a Day

Good morning! Today's post is pretty different but I've been trying to give you guys more of the content that you actually want to read :) Back in the beginning days of blogging, there used to be a thing called "What I Ate Wednesday" where food and fitness bloggers would write a diary-style post going through their day and everything they ate. I don't know why, but I always found those posts SO interesting and enjoyable to read, and on top of it I walked away with so many different meal ideas! So, I picked a random day last week, kept track of everything I had to eat that day and brought my camera along for the ride :) 

Let's get started!


7am: I'm feeling particularly tired this morning and the very first thought in my head when I wake up is, "I need caffeine!" I walk into the kitchen and turn on my espresso maker, and while it's waiting to heat up I take Winnie outside. When I come back inside, it's ready to go, so I grind the coffee beans, extract the espresso and froth some unsweetened, vanilla almond milk to make an almond milk latte.  I also add in a pump of organic vanilla syrup to make it a little sweeter! I have a few important emails that need answering, so I sit down at my kitchen counter with my computer and sip my latte. I also grab a pack of Trader Joe's raw, whole almonds from my pantry to snack on. I have a hard workout planned this morning and I don't want to eat anything too heavy beforehand. 


8:30am: I've just finished my workout (sometimes I go to the gym, but today I'm short on time so I worked out in our upstairs family room), and it's time to eat a real breakfast! It's going to be a long day and I want something hearty and filled with protein since I just worked out, so I decide to make my go-to pancakes (you've probably seen them on Instastories or in my old blog posts!). I've started adding a little bit of my protein powder to the batter on days that I work out and I'm actually amazed how good they taste - JUST like chocolate pancakes - but with so much protein! Here's the updated recipe:

4-Ingredient Protein Pancakes
Ingredients:
- 1 banana
- 2 eggs
- 1 scoop of chia seeds
- 1/2 scoop of protein powder (I use this one)
Instructions: 
1. Blend the banana, eggs, chia seeds and protein powder in a blender until well mixed. 
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches, drop small portions of batter onto the skillet and cook until golden brown, 1-2 minutes per side. 
3. Stack all of the pancakes on a plate and add berries. You can also add a little bit of maple syrup but they're so good that you don't really need any!


12:30pm: My mom is in town and we've been taking blog photos all morning, and one of our shooting locations happens to be right beside Whole Foods, so we stop in to get lunch from their hot bar! On this particular day I fill my plate with kale, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted carrots and tofu (I don't really like tofu but they were out of grilled chicken, what I usually get!). For lunch, I always try to eat a lean protein and a few servings of vegetables. 



4pm: My mom just left to drive back to Charlotte, so I make myself a green tea (with caffeine) to help me power through the rest of the afternoon. We took a bunch of blog and Instagram photos so I plan to spend the rest of the day editing them! While I'm working, I reach for a spoonful of this North Shore Goodies peanut butter and a handful of strawberries and blueberries. I have to rave about this peanut butter for a minute - ALWAYS look at the ingredient list on your peanut butter because many brands contain artificial flavors, sweeteners and chemical preservatives. This North Shore peanut butter only has two ingredients (peanuts and coconut) and is the BEST tasting peanut butter I've ever had in my life!!! (I also like eating it with an apple or on top of oatmeal.) I order it online in big batches!


7pm: Dinnertime! I'm trying out a new recipe tonight and I think Chris is going to like it - Mexican-style spaghetti squash boats. I like to get creative with our dinners and make them both healthy and "man-approved" so that Chris is happy too, haha! I start making dinner around 7 p.m., but I didn't realize that the squash needs to cook in the oven for 50 minutes - yikes. I'm starving so I snack on some slices of bell pepper while I cook. Finally dinner is ready around 8 p.m. and we dig in. Chris and I both LOVEEEEEE this dinner and we agree to add it in to our weekly rotation! There are a lot of leftovers so I put them in a tupperware - they'll be great on top of a salad for tomorrow's lunch. For dessert, I have a bowl of Halo Top ice cream in the birthday cake flavor. 

Mexican-Style Spaghetti Squash Boats
adapted from this recipe
Ingredients:
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (if you don't like spicy foods, you can either remove the seeds or remove this ingredient altogether!)
- 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- shredded cheese, cilantro, salsa and Greek yogurt (for toppings - all optional!)

Instructions: 
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the spaghetti squash in the oven on a baking sheet (cut side up) and cook for 45 to 50 minutes.
3. While the spaghetti squash is cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Throw in the onion and garlic, cooking until slightly browned.
4. Add in the red pepper and jalapeƱo pepper, cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes. Store in the corn and beans.
5. In a separate pan, add the ground turkey, taco seasoning and chili powder. Cook until the meat is browned and no longer pink, then add to the cooked vegetable and pepper mix.
6. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven, cut in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Loosen up the rest of the 'spaghetti' with a fork.
7. Scoop the veggie/turkey mixture into each squash boat and top with cheese (optional). Place in the oven on low broil for 3-4 minutes until slightly browned.
8. Top with cilantro, Greek yogurt, salsa or your favorite toppings!


9pm: I just finished my blog post for the following day, so it's time to relax and get ready for bed. I love drinking tea at night to help me wind down... I have a couple of different flavors that I rotate between every night, but lately I've really been loving this organic Nighty Night tea by Traditional Medicinals. I also run a bath with epsom salts (my muscles are already sore from my workout this morning!) and drink my tea in the bathtub to help relax before bed.

If you have any questions (or if you want to see more of these posts) let me know in the comments! 
xoxox

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Eight Different Ways to Wear a Silk Scarf


One of the biggest trends for this upcoming spring is silk scarves! This makes me sooo happy because I love silk scarves and there are so many different ways to wear them! Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite ways - although the possibilities are endless. (For the purpose of this post, I am showing this skinny Valentino scarf, but there are lots of cheaper scarves out there that are just as beautiful! At the bottom of the post I've linked up a bunch at different price points.)

The first way is tied around the handle of a handbag. You can do this to any bag that has top handles. I saw this look a lot when I was in Italy and I absolutely love it! Starting with one side, tie the scarf in a simple knot and then slowly wrap the rest of the scarf around the handle, repeating until you get to the other side. This a really simple way to add a pop of color to your outfit.


My second favorite way to wear a silk scarf is tied as a big bow on a handbag. I love how it instantly makes the handbag look more feminine! You can do this to literally ANY handbag you own. 


You can also wear them in your hair! This is such a fun and chic look for spring and summer (it even looks cute with a bikini!) and it helps your hair stay in place. This is another look that I saw women wearing in Italy last spring. I tied mine underneath my ponytail and let the ends of the scarf dangle, but you can also flip the scarf around and tie the ends in a bow on top of your head


If you want to get the look for less, you can also purchase pre-made headbands. This one I'm wearing in the below photos is less than $30, but it gives you the exact same look! It's actually a little easier to wear because it has elastic and you don't have to tie it in a knot. 


My final favorite way to wear a silk scarf is around your neck! You can tie it in a tight knot, a loose knot, or even leave the ends free. I also wanted to mention that you don't necessarily have to have a skinny scarf to do all the above - it works just as well with a square one. This scarf shown below is quite large but looks equally as great as the skinny one!



If I haven't convinced you yet, there are still more ways to wear silk scarves. A really cute way is to tie it around your wrist like this picture I pinned on Pinterest. Here are some previous posts I did wearing silk scarves.... and I'm linking up a BUNCH of different scarves in the widget below! 


xoxo!

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Friday, February 16, 2018

A Few More Weeks of Winter...

Good American jeans, similar HERE // similar booties // Gucci handbag
heart choker // initial necklace // MAC lipstick in "creme cup"

Since there's still some winter left (ughhh!) I wanted to share this cold-weather outfit... this striped cardigan is so soft, fuzzy and warm! Here's how I wore it on Instagram the other day. It's definitely a staple wardrobe piece, so I'll be wearing it the rest of this winter and can transition it into spring with white pants! FYI, I'm wearing the XS and it still fits a bit oversized (which I really love for the extra "cozy" feeling).

Did everyone have a good week!?! Chris surprised me with a new thriller novel for Valentine's Day so I've been NONSTOP reading since then! I can't wait to share another book review with you guys soon because y'all will LOVE this one!!!

xoxox

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Blue & White Finds for Spring

one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight

I'm sooo happy that the blue and white trend is back this spring! These are some of my favorite finds of the week. I own this top and it's only $35, and I'm lusting so bad over these shoes... major swoon!

Sorry for the short post today, I'm running out the door to drive to Raleigh today!
xoxo

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Travel Guide: Aruba

Good morning, loves! Today's post is highly requested.... a review of our resort in Aruba! Just FYI, this post is not sponsored by anyone :) I've included all of my Instagrams from the trip below, read on for my full review of Aruba and our stay at the Renaissance Resort and Casino. 


bodysuit // jean shorts // Eugenia Kim sun hat, similar but less expensive HERE
Clare V straw bag, comes in a larger size HERE 




Clare V straw bag, comes in a larger size HERE 

matching crop top and skirt, love THIS set and it's much cheaper :) 



flamingos!!!



We stayed at the Renaissance Resort and Casino in Aruba. The main reason we chose to stay here is because the Renaissance owns a private island where the flamingos are - and staying at the hotel gives you access to the island any time you want! My mom and I hadn't been to Aruba before, but we absolutely LOVED it. Let's get started with the review...

Transportation: We took a direct flight from Charlotte to Aruba, which was really nice! When we landed at the Aruba airport, we were able to pick up our luggage quickly and then headed outside to the taxi stand. Aruba is not like Mexico - you don't have to arrange transportation ahead of time or anything like that. The taxis are also VERY regimented and they aren't allowed to overcharge you! The taxi charged $25 for both me and my mom (and all of our luggage), and guess what you guys - the resort was only 10 minutes away from the airport!! I didn't realize how small Aruba is - it's pretty small, but that makes getting around the island a breeze. My mom and I both agreed that it was the easiest day of travel we've EVER had.

Beach: The beaches in Aruba are absolutely gorgeous. There is a small beach at the Renaissance Hotel but we didn't spend much time there, instead we opted to take the boat over to Renaissance's private island. The island is BEYOND amazing - one of the things both my mom and I loved most about Aruba. On one side of the island is Iguana Beach (which is family-friendly) and on the other side of the island is Flamingo Beach (adults only). We spent most of our time at Flamingo Beach! There are flamingos EVERYWHERE on Flamingo Beach - they walk around on the beach, in between beach chairs, in the water, etc. It was unreal to be so up close to one of the most beautiful creatures in the world. There's also a little vending machine where you can purchase "flamingo food" (definitely bring change with you, it was 25 cents) and feed the flamingos. I don't think they can see very well so they did bite me a couple of times while they were trying to eat out of my hand (it didn't hurt, though!). We really enjoyed laying out on Flamingo Beach, besides the flamingos it is just plain BEAUTIFUL with really soft sand and clear water. There were plenty of chairs for everyone, and even a bunch of hammocks that looked really relaxing. When we got hungry, we walked over to Iguana Beach (you guessed it, there are iguanas everywhere) and ate lunch at the little beach restaurant there. I was surprised to find that they offered a lot of different healthy meal options like some amazing salads. One more tip on the private island: it is free for guests staying at the Renaissance Resort and Casino; however, you can purchase a day-pass to visit Flamingo Beach if you aren't staying there (I think it's around $100). The only downside is that if the hotel is full, they don't let anyone purchase passes. 

Pools: There are technically two parts to the Renaissance Resort: the Marina Hotel and the Ocean Suites. They are close to each other, but we chose to stay at the Ocean Suites because it's located RIGHT on the beach. The Ocean Suites building has two large pools with a lot of lounge chairs. We found that the pools were really nice and relaxing (we didn't ever swim in the pool but we laid out there!). They also sometimes have live music in the afternoons which was really nice!

Room: The ONLY thing that disappointed me about Aruba was our hotel room! My mom and I chose to stay in an "Ocean Suite" with an ocean view (just FYI, the rooms without ocean views overlook a parking lot). Many people who go to the beach don't really care about their hotel room... they'd rather be out by the pool and swimming in the ocean the whole time so it doesn't really matter what their room looks like. I just felt that the rooms were old, the carpets were worn and they needed some updated furniture and paint. We could tell that they had renovated the hotel rooms a lot over the years... in our bedroom, there was a random wall with a clear glass panel in it for absolutely no reason at all! However, despite the need for renovation, I will say that the beds were nice and new and VERY comfortable - we got really good sleep on the trip!

Food: We thought the food in Aruba was INCREDIBLE! We didn't eat at our hotel at all, but rather walked over to the little marketplace beside our hotel for a lot of meals. We ate at an Italian restaurant, Casa Tua, three different nights because it was so good hahah! One night we had incredible salads, one night we split a margherita pizza and the last night we split an amazing gnocchi dish. There are a lot of restaurants located next to the hotel, and we felt very comfortable walking around at night to the restaurants and stores. One night we made reservations at the Flying Fishbone which I would highly recommend. You do have to take a taxi there, but it's worth it! The restaurant is located right on the beach, there are even tables on the sand where the water comes up to your feet! Definitely take advantage of the fresh seafood at this restaurant (and for dessert, order the baked alaska - mmmmm!). I am really trying to eat clean right now, and I was worried this would be difficult in Aruba, however it really wasn't - pretty much every restaurant we went to had amazing, fresh salads or lean protein and I was able to eat healthy but feel completely satisfied.

Shopping: I was highly impressed with the shopping in Aruba! If you like high-end stores, they have an abundance - there's a Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier, etc., located right next to the Renaissance Resort. But there are also all sorts of little island shops selling unique items and clothing.  My mom found a beautiful hand-made straw tote for only $30 (she put up a picture of it here!).

Cost: The rooms are pretty reasonably priced, especially considering the amazing tropical location. Although we didn't love our hotel room, we did think it was worth it to be able to visit Flamingo Beach anytime we wanted! For that reason alone we were really happy that we had picked our hotel. If we decided to go back to Aruba, I might stay at a different resort but still buy day-passes to go to Flamingo Beach.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend Aruba as a place to vacation - I simply fell in love with the island upon arrival (and the flamingos!!!). One thing that is definitely worth mentioning is how safe we felt there. I have visited a lot of tropical places and you are often warned not to leave the resort because it "isn't safe." Well that is truly not the case in Aruba! We felt comfortable exploring and walking the whole island (even at night) by ourselves. On the plane ride over, we met a really nice couple who had visited Aruba 15 times, and they said one of the things they loved most about it was how safe it is! I can see myself coming back one day with my kids in tow. :)

Let me know if you had any other questions in the comments and I'll get back to you!

xoxo

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Monday, February 12, 2018

My Spray Tan Routine




Happy Monday, friends! First up I want to talk about this cute outfit - this BP eyelet top is only $35 and the perfect piece for transitioning into spring and summer. I wore it with jean shorts but it would be equally as cute with pants, since in most parts of the world it's not that warm yet :) Annnd these jean shorts  are my new favorite!!! They're definitely pricy for shorts, however I really love the length, that they're a little high waisted, and they fit SO WELL! I will definitely be wearing them all spring and summer.

Okay next I wanted to answer a few questions about my spray tanning routine! A lot of you had questions about my tan so I figured it would be easiest to answer in a blog post. I have been getting spray tans for years and years and pretty much have it down to a science now. I get Mystic Tans - your can get them at pretty much any tanning salon. I like them because the tan is done by a machine, and not only does it do a good job but it's also completely private (so no one sees you naked!). Here's my exact routine:

1. I ask for a Mystic Tan in dark with the following additives: hyperboost, sunkissed and two scents (you can smell the different scents and pick out your favorite - I like to get two because it really masks the smell of the spray tan and makes you smell really nice!)
2. I also buy a pair of "sticky feet" to wear in the booth so that the bottoms of your feet don't turn black from the tanning solution
3. Once I'm alone in the booth, I strip down and apply some of the blocking lotion (supplied in the room) to my hands and fingernails. If I have makeup on, I also take off my makeup (I usually bring my own makeup remove wipes). I also put on a shower cap and put in nose inserts so that I don't breathe in the spray tan solution while I'm being sprayed.
4. Spray!
5. I always stay in the booth for the entire minute after it's done spraying, because it blows out warm air that helps dry and solidify your tan.
6. Pat down with a towel and get dressed (I always wear loose-fitting clothing! No jeans!)
7. I immediately wash my hands afterward. This washes off the outer layer of the spray tan so that your hands don't look weird in the morning.
8. Wait 8 or 9 hours until showering! It's fine to shampoo and condition your hair however I don't use body soap the first time I shower because this cuts down on the life of your tan!

When I'm on a trip, I bring this tanning product with me and apply it if my spray tan starts to fade. It's my favorite self tanner and looks SO natural! :)

Let me know if you have any questions!
xoxo

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