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Meatless Mondays

Hey y’all! How are your resolutions going so far? We’re only about two weeks in, so hopefully everyone is still going strong. One of my resolutions was to try to eat more veggies and less meat this year. Now, I know the importance of eating meat and I will never fully cut it out of my lifestyle because A) I love a good steak and B) eating meat has many health benefits that I want for my body. However, I can also definitely try to eat a little bit less because that’s also good for my body and good for the environment. So I’m going to try to work harder on incorporating meatless Mondays, as well as only have meat in one meal a day.

Meatless Mondays

So meatless Mondays is essentially no meat on Monday, which for someone who is very used to recipes that use meat, can be a bit difficult. I’m still trying to find healthy lunch and dinner options that are vegetarian, as well as don’t only consist of pasta. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love pasta, but I also am trying to limit that to once a week, so I can’t have it for lunch and dinner. Luckily, Pinterest is a great resource for me, and I also found these frozen black bean burgers that are delicious, and not super high in sodium, which means I can enjoy them without worrying too much about the preservatives factor.

Meatless Lunches

Here is another place where I struggle. So I can enjoy a salad just as much as the next person, but the problem is that I’ll be starving in an hour or two, and that was when the salad had chicken on it! When it’s just a plain salad, that simply doesn’t cut it for me, and I know several others who would agree with me. Once again, I’m having to get a bit more creative with things, but luckily that can also be easily done. Make yourself a peanut butter sandwich to go along with the salad or make up a quinoa and vegetable power bowl. Those are both good sources of protein and don’t contain any meat. Hummus and vegetables and pita bread is another great choice. Again, if this is something you’re considering doing, use your resources, Pinterest never fails with a recipe for something.

At the very least, if you find that you can’t go without any kind of meat on Mondays, go with a lean white meat and try to lower your intake of red meat. I get it, steak is delicious, again I love it, but I also rarely have one because it really isn’t the healthiest option out there. But turkey, chicken, those lean white meats, those are great options to help your heart stay healthy while still getting your meat fix.

If anyone has some vegetarian recipes they’d like to share, please post them in the comments! I’m always looking for new recipes to try 🙂

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Have an Evening Routine

Hey y’all, so there are some nights when it seems like there is just too much to be done and too little time to do it…at least, that’s how I feel sometimes. You know what really helps me to get things done and stay focused? Having an evening routine. I know, I know, but trust me on this, it really does help. The past few weeks I’ve been coming home from work and first thing I do is change and get my workout in, and I haven’t missed a day, and that was during the crazy holiday times too! I then have a bit of energy so I can get some chores done, make dinner, etc. It’s all because I have an evening routine and that really helps me to streamline my night.

2020 Resolutions

Happy New Year y’all! We are now in a brand new decade, and with that comes brand new resolutions. I know so many people don’t believe in making resolutions because they won’t follow through with them, but I personally am not one of those people. I love resolutions, partly because I love lists to check things off of, and this is just a big list for the year, and I’m pretty good at keeping up with them. So here goes, my 2020 resolutions.

  1. Continue to achieve my fitness goals. I have been exceedingly focused and committed to working out on a daily basis and I plan on continuing that as well as my healthy eating lifestyle changes. I’m a big believer in moderation, so I have my healthy foods as well as my occasional junk food. It keeps my body healthy and balanced, and I don’t have to worry about bingeing on junk food.
  2. Save money. Ohh finances, we love them and we hate them. One of my goals is to save more money this year. I did ok last year, but I want to do even better this year. Building up a savings account is so important, especially for unexpected expenses. So this year, starting even earlier than today, I’m focused on cutting my spending and saving more. Spending will be focused only on things I need. No clothes shopping unless I truly truly need, less eating out (which I rarely do anyway), I let my Disney annual pass go, and I’m selling different designer clothing I don’t wear or use anymore.
  3. Help more. Every year I organize a toy donation at my work for the holidays, and I also feed a stray cat at our office, but this year I want to do more. I want to help others more than just that, and one way I can do that is by locating more volunteer opportunities in my area. I’m already planning a beach clean-up, as well as working with my sorority alumnae chapter during their service days, not to mention random acts of kindness if the opportunities present themselves. There are so many ways to get out there and help others, and I can’t wait to do so.
  4. See friends more. I have several long distance friends in other states, and while we try hard to see each other, I plan on making more of an effort to not only stay in touch, but to get together with them at least once a year.
  5. Read more books. This year, I want to read one book every two weeks. I love reading and have several authors I like with new releases coming out this year, so I want to make more time for reading. I probably came close to reading a book a month last year, and that simply isn’t enough for me. And in the spirit of saving money, I’ll be using my local library to help me achieve this goal, that way I can read new things, without having to spend money purchasing all the books, though some will be downloaded to my Kindle so I can enjoy them over and over again.
  6. Treat myself to a monthly spa day. If you read my blog regularly, then you know how important it is to take care of your stressors, and for me one great way to help with that is a monthly massage. I want to continue this tradition I have into the new year, and I also want to add to it. Now, I don’t mean necessarily paying for a facial, mani/pedi, etc., but I certainly do mean coming home after the massage, pouring a glass of wine, putting on a face mask, and painting my nails myself. This is a great way to unwind and relax, and I can even add reading a good book to it to make it a perfect day.
  7. Get my yearly check-ups. That’s right guys, everyone should have this on their list of resolutions. Go see your GP, ladies see your gynecologist, everyone go see a dermatologist for a skin exam, and anything else you need to do based on your age or health status. Take control of your health this year and make sure if there’s anything going on with your body that you’re aware of it.
  8. Take a new class. I haven’t decided what kind of class I’ll be taking, but with so many options out there, I know I’ll find one that’s perfect for me whether it’s a fitness class or maybe photography. I’m going to find something that interests me and explore something new. A wine tasting class could always be fun.. 😉
  9. Let things go. I’m one of those people who always wants the best out of myself and others, and sometimes that just doesn’t happen. This year I’m going to truly focus on letting those things go when expectations aren’t met. It’s not worth the stress I put on myself, especially since I cannot control how others act in a situation. I can only trust that God is in control, and everything will work out how it’s supposed to, even if I don’t have a say in it.
  10. Spend less time on my phone. I am generally pretty good about not looking at my phone when I’m with friends and family or am out at an event, but I’m only human and do find myself playing on my phone when I shouldn’t be. This year I’m going to make an effort to spend less time on my phone and more time present with what’s going on around me, whether that’s watching tv or at a concert. I mean, let’s face it, most people don’t look at your slightly blurry concert pictures anyway lol.

These are just a few of my resolutions for this year, and I look forward to everything 2020 can bring me. What are some of your resolutions? I’d love to hear them, and I hope you’ll enjoy following through on them for the entire year!

A Reflection on 2019

2019 was a year that went by too fast and also too slow. Nothing too monumental happened, yet I feel it was a year of growth for myself. I learned a lot about myself and I got pushed to certain limits that helped me to look at myself and what I want out of life and out of people in my life.

My Friends

2019 was a year where I lost some friends and gained some new ones. Some old friends disappeared from my life, partly because I stopped reaching out, and rather than mourn that loss, I’ve accepted that they don’t want to be in my life anymore and that’s ok. It’s important to learn that you can’t constantly reach out to people to nurture a friendship. There has to be some effort back from that other person, and if there’s not, it may be best to just let it go.

I also was able to reconnect with some friends who moved back to Florida, as well as make new ones by going outside of my comfort zone and trying new things. Trust me when I say making the time to meet new people is worth it, and that even if you and someone have grown apart, that doesn’t mean you won’t grow back together in the future.

Health and Wellness

This year saw improvements in health and wellness for myself and for others I care about. It didn’t come without work, but I’m extremely proud of the work put in by myself and by others, and I look forward to continuing to see improvements in 2020. I’ve got my health goals laid out, and have several others who have their own health goals they are working towards. Having this group makes it much easier to accomplish said goals rather than trying to go in alone. Find your group, and join a fitness class, gym, or social group that will get you up and active. Take care of your body and mind, nourishing both, and know when to sit back and get some rest.

Relationships

I can’t say that I fell in love in 2019, but maybe that’s something that will happen in 2020. I learned a bit more what I want from a relationship, while also getting ghosted, and while that may not have been fun, it was a good learning experience. It showed me who that person really was and helped remove someone who wouldn’t have been good for me out of my life.

Personal Goals

I continued working on a novel I’m writing and took the next step towards getting it published by sending it to some beta readers. My editing is by no means completed, but I look forward to continuing work on it and hopefully sending it out for querying in the near future. I also look forward to growing this blog. I love writing these posts and interacting with some of my readers, and I hope you enjoy the content as much as I enjoy writing it.

I always look forward to a new year as a fresh start, and this year is no different. I am so excited to see what 2020 has in store for me, and to thank 2019 for the lessons I was given. Happy New Year everyone!

Clean as You Go

One of the biggest tips a top chef will give you while working in the kitchen is to clean as you go. A messy kitchen is not a sign of a good chef, even while preparing a delicious meal, so if you find yourself surrounded by dirty dishes and ingredients strewn about, you may want to change your method. Clean as you go and you won’t dread doing the dishes after dinner.

Decor Finishing Touches

*This is a sponsored post

I think it’s safe to say from my previous posts and my love of HGTV shows like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers, that I have been bitten by the interior design bug. In fact, this is something I’ve been passionate about since I was in high school, when we were first told to design a room of our choosing. We not only drew up the blueprints, but also put together all the paint colors, finishes, and the furniture too, of course.

Since then, while I haven’t done anything professionally, I do find home décor a very serious thing, and there are many different pieces I put together for décor finishing touches. After all, we all have different tastes and styles, but there are some things that are universal options for finishing a look, and available in a variety of colors/patterns/fabrics to meet any style.

  • A good rug can really pull a room together. I use rugs in my bedroom, bathroom, and even a few placed throughout the home in different areas. Some prefer a super fluffy rug for their feet to touch first thing each morning, while others prefer something sleek and minimal, something that reminds them of a hotel they stayed at and loved. For me, I prefer a bit more of a fluffy rug in my bedroom, but prefer something more sleek and refined for the rest of the home. I even have an outdoor rug that will go under my outdoor table when I complete my backyard redesign. This is why I love Ottomanson. This website has it all! Whether you are searching for a fun patterned rug for under your bed or a runner rug to welcome people into your beautiful home, they have something for everyone. If you’re designing the hotel bathroom/spa of your dreams, they have a runner rug that will lead you into your paradise. The best part is that you won’t break the bank! They’re also pet-friendly! This is a must in my household.This company has been around for over 10 years now, and they just keep creating stunning, affordable rugs, among other things, that look beautiful in your home. And if you need help, don’t worry, they have great customer service that would be happy to assist you with completing your order or even ordering more pieces for your home.
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  • The right pillow can really bring a room together. Maybe you’re tying in different furniture pieces or even decorating for a holiday theme. Christmas is right around the corner, so you know I’ve pulled out some holiday pillows to add to the room. I’ve found that without them, the chairs don’t seem to fit quite right, but when I match pillows with my Christmas tree skirt, everything gets pulled together beautifully and I have a Christmas living room that I adore spending time in. The same goes for rooms all year long. A pillow can show your personality, as well as tie in different themes all into one. Not to mention, a bed, chair or couch just looks plain without a good throw pillow.
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  • I know, you probably didn’t even think of this as a finishing décor piece. Whether decking the halls for the holidays or just preparing the staged table for dinner, a tablecloth is a necessity. If you’re looking to get one-stop shopping check out the options from Ottomanson. These tablecloths come in a variety of prints and styles so you can find the perfect fit for your tastes and for your kitchen. Whether you prefer to have a kitchen full of sunflowers or a more natural tone, they’ve got you covered.
  • The right candle can complete a room. From bringing in a fresh scent or matching the seasonal tone, a candle is the perfect option to complete a room. Those who know me will tell you I am a total candle fiend. I always seem to find an excuse to buy candles and can always think of reasons why I need more. I have them in my bathroom, bedroom, even in my office near my laptop. Having a lit candle is soothing to me, not to mention, it smells amazing. I shop from a variety of places for my candles and usually purchase ones that match the season, so right now my candles are all Christmas themed, and I couldn’t be happier.

These décor finishing touches can take your room from nice to stunning. And the best part is it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. I’m big on decorating but on a budget, and it’s important to me that my house looks nice without necessarily making me go broke. These are some of the ways I can bring everything together nicely.

Take Care of Your Skin This Winter

It’s finally getting cold here in Florida, and my skin is feeling it! I usually deal with chapped lips, but my hands are getting in on it too, and they are cracked and peeling with all this dry cold weather. Luckily, there are several ways to tackle this, and take care of your skin this winter, and it’s in perfect time for Wellness Wednesday!

  • Get a good hand lotion. I don’t mean a regular lotion, I mean one specifically made for dry, cracked skin. The other stuff will help temporarily, but you really need something to moisturize for a while and specifically for this type of skin. Jergens has an option that works, as does Aveeno, and Vaseline. I used the Vaseline one this evening when my hands were absolutely bright red and cracking, and it helped so much!
  • Stay hydrated. Part of dry skin is dehydration, so it’s important to keep up your water intake even in the winter. I know this can be difficult since we aren’t as likely to feel thirsty, but trust me, your skin will thank you.
  • Try sleeping with lotion gloves at night. I got a pack of keratin gloves for my hands in a subscription box and they are specifically made to help keep your hands in great shape all winter long.
  • Use a moisturizing hand sanitizer. We are in the midst of cold and flu season, which means I am washing my hands even more than normal and using hand sanitizer, both of which dry your hands out even more, which is why I was so excited when my friend sent me a lotion that was also a hand sanitizer. Now I can keep my hands germ free, and moisturized all season long.
  • Wear gloves while doing dishes. If you find that your hands are getting even more dried out after doing chores, wear gloves while you do them! Keeping your hands dry may give them more time to heal and not get as dried out.
  • Try a hydrocortisone cream if it gets really bad. If you’ve been ignoring it for a bit, a regular lotion may not work as well, but a hydrocortisone cream should get your hands back to normal.
  • Put an antibacterial cream on any open spots. If your hands have gotten to the point where they are cracked and bleeding, make sure you take care of those spots to avoid an infection. Keep them clean and use an anti-bacterial cream.

While we certainly can’t prevent dry skin, we can fight back against it. These tips help me out during the winter months, and hopefully they’ll provide you some relief as well!

Take the Time to Focus on Your Goals

In our crazy world, sometimes it seems like there’s never enough time in the day. I know I certainly feel this way sometimes between working full time, trying to get my exercise in, cooking healthy meals, keeping up with the house, and still trying to find time to relax and focus on side projects and other things, while also sleeping can be quite the juggling act sometimes. And usually, while doing this juggling act, something slips to the wayside. For a lot of us, it may be something related to our goals, and sadly, it’s so important for us to take the time to focus on our goals.

I know it’s hard to make time for things, trust me, I do. With everything going on, and if you have kids, you have their schedules in addition to your own, but you have to take the time to focus on your goals. Set aside a chunk of time, whether it’s 30 minutes in the morning before everyone else is up or it’s an hour at lunch to just focus on your goals, no matter what they may be. Maybe you’re trying to race in a marathon but can’t find time to train or you’re trying to learn how to cook, but never have time to actually take lessons or watch videos. Make the time! It’s so important and I’ve found setting out a chunk of time is the only way I can force myself to get it done. Otherwise, the days pass to quickly, and before I know it, I’m in bed, getting prepared for another day.

Just Keep Swimming

Sometimes, it can feel like life is trying to pull you under. Wave after wave just keeps coming at you, and you may feel like you’re drowning or struggling to catch your breath. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I’ll be there again, that’s just how life is sometimes. Timing never works out the way we want, but there is one thing you can do. Just keep swimming. Keep working on yourself, keep finding the good in the bad, and keep taking one day, one step at a time. Keep the faith, and just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

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Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa

In honor of fall being just around the corner, I present to you, a cinnamon apple breakfast quinoa recipe that is sure to delight your tastebuds and keep you feeling full all morning long! This recipe makes enough for two, so if you’re cooking for more, just go ahead and double or triple the recipe.

You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • A dash of honey to taste

How To Prepare:

  • Put quinoa, water, and apples in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in cinnamon, and serve with a dash of honey!

That’s it, it’s super easy! For drool-worthy pics and to check out the original recipe, go here. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa

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