Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Healthiest Chip in the World


Tried my hand at Kale Chips last night and I'd say they turned out pretty tasty! Here's the recipe for all you out there who are trying to eat healthy like this girl, or if you just want to try something new!

They're easier than they seem!

First, buy a big bag of kale. I bought a bag from Trader Joe's that already had the stems cut off, and the leaves cut. If you can't find this, just make sure to do it yourself!


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make a mixture of olive oil and any seasoning you desire! I used garlic powder and salt, and definitely overdid it on this mixture. Next time I will reduce the olive oil AND seasoning to make a lighter taste.

Mix kale in, making sure to get the mixture on every piece. Pile as much as you can onto a baking sheet (it really cooks down fast) and bake until you have reached your desired crisp. Let cool and serve immediately. They will not be as crunchy the next day!


Weekend in Wisconsin

It is a rainy, dark Wednesday in Minnesota today - making me want to grab a cup of coffee, a pair of sweatpants, and catch up on my TV shows.. but unfortunately work calls for me *sigh*

Also, am I ridiculous for already dreaming of fall weather, fashion, and food?? I always get upset with myself for wishing summer away so I'm doing everything I can to thoroughly enjoy this last month but man am I craving some apple cider!

Andy and I spent the weekend with his family in Wisconsin and had a great time. The weather was hot! but easily dulled with some cold beverages and pool time ;) We were busy busy busy, and got to the county fair, played some yard games and ate like royalty at the block party, swam, bowled, ate too many sweets, and spent some quality time with Andy's family. 

A few of my favorite snapshots from the weekend...


Our feelings after a 5-hour long drive



Deep fried Oreos.. life changing!



This sure made me ready to settle down out of the city..



Gilles Custard with extra sprinkles :)




Bowling with Andy's family




Feeling like teenagers at the county fair


I always come back from weekends away wishing I had taken a dozen more photos, but on the bright side - we were able to fully soak in every moment without being behind the camera. But this may be a different story when I get a new camera ;)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Five on Friday (Thursday)

Happy, happy THURSDAY! I had to do this a day in advance because tomorrow Andy and I are headed out on a little road trip to Wisconsin for a weekend with his family. Hooray for 4 day weekends!!!



I'm going to attempt to hit five favorites this week, but no promises. This week was quite a whirlwind of coming and going, packing and cleaning, and appointments so we'll see what I come up with :)


- ONE - 

I had my first ever massage yesterday and decided that this may need to become a staple in my self-care habits (that makes it sound more necessary, right??) The woman worked on all of my problem areas in my back, and even worked on my glutes (gasp) a lot. Yes some random person literally massaged my butt, but it honestly felt amazing and wasn't awkward in the least bit. You really don't realize how stiff those muscles can get from a sedentary desk job, until an elbow is rubbing out a huge knot! I left feeling so relaxed and comfortable.


- TWO -

Our low-carb dinners are going as good as ever! Monday we had peppersteak with lots of yummy veggies (Recipe found here). This was delicious and heated up nicely, but the real rockstar recipe of the week was all Andy's idea!

We make some darn good chicken-bacon sandwiches, but the bread involved in them makes this recipe a no-no for weeknights. So instead we substituted the bread for romaine lettuce wraps, and I think it was even better! They were cold, crisp, and you could really taste every flavor in it because the bread wasn't dulling it down!

Andy grilled both steak and chicken and cut them into strips - so we had two kinds of meat to choose from. We then added bacon, muenster or pepperjack cheese, guacamole, fresh tomato, and chipotle mayo. We served it with veggie chips and grapes. This made a perfect summer meal, especially with these outrageous temperatures we've been experiencing lately!


- THREE -



The wedding last week was a lot of fun, and in addition to the mac 'n cheese bar there was a mashed potato bar... um yum!!! It was every bit of delicious as it sounds. We ate and ate and then ate some more and then realized that we had overdone it on the carbs.. we were back at our hotel sleeping with our food babies by midnight. Whoops..


- FOUR -



and then this happened the next morning.. needless to say, I had to go extra hard at the gym Monday :)



- FIVE -

Bought a bag of these chips today.. and you should definitely go buy some. They're soooo good and perfect for a healthier version of chips!




Have a good one everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Routines

Today I'm popping in to share my "self-care" routine, for both morning and night! I'm always on the look out for new products (preferably the ones that smell and feel amazing) and I love hearing about what others do to keep their skin - and their selves - looking moisturized, fresh, beautiful, and glowing!


MORNING

I start my mornings by splashing some cold water on my face to clean off any and all pesky oil and/or makeup products that may be lingering on my face from the night before. I then spritz a toner (Botanics Organic Rosewater Toner) all over my face. This cleanses my skin, shrinks my pores, and preps my face for moisturizer.


You can find it here

I then use a moisturizing gel to hydrate my face. I use the Clean and Clear Morning Gel. This product provides a cooling effect and goes on so smoothly. Plus it smells like skittles or some kind of deliciousness like that


I then move onto my makeup routine, which for my skin typically consists of BB creme, foundation, powder, and some blush. If I'm really feeling fancy - I'll add some bronzer and highligher to the mix. For everyday eyes, I do black liquid liner on the top lid, black pencil on the bottom lid, and swipe a dozen few coats of mascara on. I love big lashes, and mine are not voluptuous at all, so I do what I can to fake it. Sometimes I'll add in a little eyeshadow depending on how much time I have.








Some of my favorite makeup products!


I then rush around to do everything else before 7:40 - such as doing my hair (typically a teased ponytail or ballet bun if I work, and curled and down if I have more time), frantically searching my closet for something to wear, and accessorizing. At this time, my stomach is practically screaming at me for food - so I go grab some breakfast.

I know this isn't a "getting ready" routine - but I wholeheatedly believe that nourishing your body with the nutrients it deserves in the morning is a self-care routine in itself! I know so many people that skip breakfast or just fuel with caffeine, and that is a big no-no for me. My mom always made sure we got a good breakfast in us before we left for school, and it is a habit I've kept ever since. Breakfast for me falls among the typical toast and peanut butter, greek yogurt, cereal with almond milk, or oatmeal. I wish I was one of those people who could get up early and make bacon and eggs, but I can settle for cereal and fifteen minutes of extra ZZZ's :)

I take two women's multivitamins (women's One-a-Day brand) and an iron supplement everyday with a big glass of orange juice. Vitamins are sooo so important, and I know I don't get all of them from just the food I eat each day. Then the rest of my routine - teeth brushing, flossing, lipstick application, coffee brewing, and making my bed - commence. I'm out of the door at 7:45, coffee in hand, feeling ready to tackle the day (75% of the time).



NIGHT

I have a little less to do at night, and the whole routine is basically about relaxing and getting ready to crawl into my comfy bed. I make sure to clean off all of my makeup from the day, by using a makeup wipe. I typically just buy Target's brand of makeup removers. They're just like Pond's wipes but a fraction of the cost. Depending on how my face is feeling, I might also use an apricot scrub to exfoliate. Again, I use Target brand - but it is the same exact formula as the St. Ive's brand. I also might use Clean & Clear's deep cleaning astringent all over my face, especially if I'm dealing with a breakout. I use the sensitive skin formula, and found that it's the only one that doesn't make my face red and irritated after use.




To moisturize before bed, I slather on Clean & Clear's (can you tell I like their products??) dual action moisturizer. It hydrates your face while also fighting off acne. I came across this stuff over three years ago, and it's the best for my skin.


Again, I brush and floss my teeth, throw my hair into a loose ponytail, and slather my body in my favorites Hemps lotion. Sometimes if I'm feeling restless, I put a little lavender oil behind my ears and under my nose. 

Then it's off to bed :)

-----

Two things I realized I desperately need - an eyecream and some sort of sunscreen to put on my face daily! I'll be on the lookout for these products, but in the mean time - I would love to hear any products you've found luck with!


Happy Tuesday friends!






Friday, July 15, 2016

Five on Friday

Happy Friday friends!! Today is extra awesome because I get off work early! Andy and I have a wedding to attend tonight, so as soon as 1:00 hits I'm outta here and we're off to check into our hotel and get fancy :) Did I mention that there's a MAC 'N CHEESE bar at this wedding?! What a great idea because who doesn't love that cheesy pasta goodness? (Answer: no one) Let's get to it!


- ONE - 



Cherries are at their peak season right now, and I would be lying if I didn't say I devoured a whole bowl the past few nights. They're just so darn delicious, plump, and sweet! Also they deliver a healthy dose of melatonin to your body, which promotes your sleep-wake cycles! I did get a good night's sleep after my indulgence yesterday so I guess I'll contribute it to that ;)


- TWO -



Quick snapshot from last night..


I'm so in awe of the flowers I purchased at Trader Joe's last Sunday. Throughout the whole week they have bloomed more and more, and were still looking fabulous this morning!

I do make sure to change out the water every other day, and re-trim the stems/remove any leaves that would touch the water. This definitely extends the lifetime of flowers :)


- THREE -

I have a confession to make about one of my recent guilty pleasures.. this whole "PokemonGO" app trend really has me addicted when boredom strikes. This is also partly due to Andy and his roommate being absolutely obsessed with it, so I guess I can contribute it to my severe competitiveness.

I do fully support this app though because it gets people off their couches, out of their homes, and walking around getting some good ole fresh air! I love love love that the "pokestops" are in parks and monuments, because it makes us more inclined to go check them out! It's fun to see everyone out socializing and getting exercise, which I am all for!


- FOUR -

New brilliant idea in Minneapolis... They have combined two wonderful things into ONE! A Caribou Coffee.... and an Einstein Bagel!!! Ahhhh serious props to whoever came up with this, because today I was able to get my favorite cold press AND my favorite bagel sandwich in one location. Plus the actual cafe area is adorable, and if I ever need a quiet place to study or do homework - that is where I will go. They have giant tables (like those farmer's ones) and tons of seating. Plus I could eat about 20 chocolate chip bagels while getting some work done.


The location I went to today.. how perfect :)


- FIVE -

Wondering if there are any good recommendations for Women's multivitamins?? I really need to start taking some, as I realized I've been bruising very easily (possibly low iron or B12) and am hoping that some vitamins will help clear them up! Typically in the past I've done the women's one-a-day multivitamin, but I would love to hear anyone's thoughts or opinions on different brands! 



Welp, I'm already mentally checked out for the weekend! I'll be back next week with a weekend recap and a delicious homemade pie crust recipe :) Cheers to the weekend!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

90 Years of Fabulous

On Saturday my mom's side of the family got together to celebrate the woman who started it all. My sweet grandmother turned 90 back in April, and this weekend we were all able to throw a lovely party for her. This woman is my role model. I can only hope to age as beautifully and as gracefully as she has. Through all of the turmoils life has thrown her way, she has handled each one with strength and courage. She brings an indescribable amount of love, laughter, and happiness to each of her four daughters, her 10 grandchildren, her 17 great grandchildren, and her 7 great-great grandchildren. She is the most classy, and well put-together 90 year-old I know - and her soul is just as beautiful as she is!

Moving on.. we had beautiful (hot) weather Saturday and it was perfect temperature in the shade. We served sandwiches, a variety of pasta salads, potato salad, beans, fruit, veggies, chips, cookies, cake, and lemonade. To say we had a lot of food would be an understatement! My mom and three aunts really did a fabulous job with the spread.

Overall, it was a wonderful party celebrating one special lady!

Ready for picture overload?? (Excuse the picture quality - they're from a few different iPhones :) )






Missing Paul, as he's in Michigan for work. So mom decides to use his high school graduation picture in his place... 



The great-great-grandbabies




The great-grandkids




The grandkids




Grandma, her four girls, and her son-in-laws






Someone played a little too much fetch ;)







Thursday, July 7, 2016

Independence Day Recap

Popping in to wish everyone a Happy Thursday! and with hopes that everyone had a wonderful Independence Day!

I thoroughly enjoyed my four day weekend, and am currently enjoying a three day work week - yay!

Here's a few snapshots from our weekend...


Strawberry Margs with my roommate, Lisa, to cheers to the weekend. Yes, it was as good as it looks!



Axel obviously showing his displeasure after I festively dressed him



Making pies with this lovely lady on Sunday afternoon. Our homemade pie crust (recipe courtesy of my great-grandma) turned out amazingly - probably due to the cup of lard it calls for.. yikes!



More baking :)


Monday we met up with our friends Chelsea and Michael at a fun restaurant on the riverwalk. They have giant "beer rockets" that you can order for your table and dispense into your cup as needed.. such a unique idea! We ended up sitting there for SIX hours and had front row seats from our table for the fireworks show.







We couldn't have asked for a more perfect holiday weekend :)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Five on Friday

Time for another round of Five on Friday, and then at 4:10 my 4-day week begins! WOOHOO!



Feeling proud to be an American - this week especially!


- ONE -

After having a rough day Wednesday, I decided to make a little trip out to HomeGoods and TJmax for some much needed retail therapy. Although I didn't really need anything specific, walking around and distracting my mind for awhile was refreshing. Plus I ended up walking out with some great deals on things I have had my eye on.. firstly, for everyone who loves Hemp lotion (and if you haven't tried it - it's the best!) they sell it at TJmax for $12 compared to $23 at drugstores and online. It smells beautiful and is so moisturizing. It has found a permanent spot on my bathroom counter where I can lather myself in it after my showers.


Also got one of those wet-n-dry brushes that eliminates painful detangling with wet hair! And for $4, it was quite the steal. Brushes out back combing beautifully too!



- TWO -

I've been devouring these one by one this week.. sweets are my weakness.

Note: I only had self rising flour when I decided to make these, but found out that it works fine as a substitute for all-purpose flour, as long as you eliminate the baking powder and salt from the recipe!





- THREE -

I found out that there's a farmer's market downtown about 3 blocks from my work on Thursdays! I walked over there on my lunch break this week, but unfortunately (or fortunately) didn't bring cash. Just looking at their beautiful fruits and vegetables, smelling the freshly baked breads, and admiring the colorful flowers was enough for me though!

Although I do plan on going next week with cash in hand ;)


Can you believe how cheap these huge bouquets are?!


- FOUR - 

Another delicious dinner recipe this week. Bone-in porkchops with a homemade gravy. I'll probably dedicate a whole post to this next week, but in the meantime here's a picture :)




- FIVE -

If you're a shopaholic I mean, Bath and Body fan like me.. here's a little something special that I received in my inbox!




Have a great weekend, and a fabulous holiday everyone!!