My Three Mantra’s: A Quarter of a Century Year-Old’s View Point

Last week, I turned a quarter of a century. Now, by all means, this does not mean I am a life hacking genius (even if I would like to think so). I have, however, learned a few things along this short road of life. These are handed down from other people, which have been shaped and molded to fit into my unique being. I like to call them my ‘mantras,’ but really they should be on everyones mental daily checklist. If these are not part of your daily gratitude log that you should me mentally ticking off, please, let them be reminders. I know some days these things are not easy… trust me, I know. Sometimes you feel like you have to drag yourself out of bed, and no amount of coffee is going to make you a decent person for the day. But, I must say, by following these mantras daily, these hard, dragging days are few and far between.

These are not groundbreaking; it is nothing we do not already know. They are just so important that I think reiterating them as an adult is something relevant. They were important when we were young, and they are going to continue to be important as adulthood continues. I challenge you to sit back and reflect with me on these, as it is something all of us can continue to learn from.

Acceptance is Key

‘Happiness can exist only in acceptance’ – George Orwell

The saying, ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ was something I was told as a young girl. When we said some not-so-nice-things, or we didn’t share our toys, or left someone out on the playground, our parents would be looming over us, wagging their finger, telling us exactly that. Well, I still do this to myself, and I am now an adult. Making sure in the work place, in your personal life, and on a daily basis that you are treating people with respect and acceptance is very important. If you are treating people the way you want to be treated, you are not only accepting them, you are acknowledging that they too deserve the respect that you deserve. Mutual respect and acceptance is so important; everyone is different, they grew up different, went through different trials, etc. We cannot judge them for that; we can only accept it.

I feel like this is pretty relevant in todays day and age, especially with the election that has happened recently. Regardless of the side you are on, mutual respect and acceptance is very necessary for everyone to continue to live in harmony. It can be hard when harsh words fly; we are all guilty of saying things we don’t mean, being boastful and overly prideful. But, at the end of the day, we must turn to accept that they are allowed to have an opinion. And when it gets difficult to do so, or the conversation is not going anywhere, it is okay to say I accept you and what you have to say/what you believe, end it at that and move on. There is no reason that we cannot just accept it, even if we think it is ‘wrong.’

Be Authentic. Be You

‘I think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don’t have self-love, and respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?’ – Shailene Woodley 

Being yourself is a wonderful, wonderful thing. In a media ran world, it is hard not to pull a little bit from this person, and a little bit from that person. Or stray away from what the magazines show as ‘beautiful.’ Being yourself is something that overcomes all external beauty because once you have accepted yourself for who you are, your inner beauty is going to outwardly be portrayed. Sometimes it is hard because there are so many types of what beauty is supposed to be. But let me tell you, that is wrong. Everything is beautiful, everyone is beautiful, and your true self is what directs that beauty… so let it shine, soul sister.

Sometimes it is hard to find yourself. Remember, that’s okay. It’s not that you have lost yourself, you have just found a new piece of yourself and you are rediscovering where that puzzle piece fits. You just have to trust yourself that you are not going down the wrong path. My dad uses the analogy of walking down a path and then it comes to a fork in the road. But it is not just a ‘this way or that way’ sort of fork in the road. It’s one of those Alice in Wonderland signs where there are about 800 different ways you can go. And you think you are following the right arrow, but you end up lost. So you take another step and there are 300 more ways to go. No way is the right way, and you can never backtrack and go back to see if the one in the middle was right. You just have to keep pushing forward. And through those trials and errors, you will find even more puzzle pieces; some that will fit perfectly, some that are misplaced, and some that need to be replaced completely. And all of that is okay. You find you through that process. You find your authentic, real self. It is not always easy, and you should be proud of the hardships and trials that have made you… you.

Stand Up and Be Present

‘When you feel powerful, you are willing to stand up for your rights, you are willing to stand up for what you believe in, you’re more willing to stand up and be counted.’ – Margaret Cho

Stand up for yourself. Stand up for others. Stand up for the things you believe in. It is easy to let others walk all over you. It is easy to not say anything to the person bullying others (remember adults can be bullies too). It is easy to idly sit by and pretend like things are not happening. You need to wake up. You need to put your foot down. You need to make your voice heard. Most importantly, you need to be present. If you want to see a change, be the change. I know personally I have felt that it was easier to just let things happen the way they were going to happen, or know I didn’t have much of a say. Well… what the hell was I thinking? Standing up for myself, others, and what I believe in has been a liberating piece of my identity and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. When I see others doing it as well, it is such a good feeling, knowing their confidence is leading them, that they too are present and stronger than ever. There is nothing more satisfying than that.

I know these are things we all know, and most of us follow these mantras daily, in our way. But these specific ones have always stuck with me my entire life. Accepting others for who they are, remaining true to myself, and standing up for myself, others and what I believe in. I am going to continue to fill these bubbles with life lessons and experiences that fit into the realm of each, and so are you. These experience make you; they never break you. Just remember that when you’re feeling defeated, or like nothing is going in your favor. It is never a BAD thing, even when the world is after you. It is always a learning experience that you can fold up, and keep in your pocket.

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Autumn Reading List

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Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. So many fun festivities happen during the autumn months, that it is hard not to get excited! From pumpkin patches and spiced lattes, to a *very* full tummy on Thanksgiving, what is not to love about autumn? I love being out doors in the cool and crisp weather, but there is something about a hot apple cider, a fireplace, piles of cozy blankets, and a good book that is just all too appealing. Books make me happy and I love sharing my to read lists. Here are my current, and autumn reads.

 

Currently Reading

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

What a perfect read for this time of the year. Of course I needed to add in some horror! I have been wanting to read this, year after year, when my group reads it for our October pick, but I never got around to it. This year, I finally got it and I cant wait to finish it.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This has been on my to read list for a while. So many people have told me I need to pick this up and read it. Well, I finally did! I cannot wait to dive in deeper. I love books where you can place yourself into the character, and really actually learn something about yourself as well.

 

To Read

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Raving reviews for this one. So naturally, I must read, like, NOW! I see, and hear, nothing but excellent reviews, as you are brought back in time with an enchanting story. I cannot wait to read this new age masterpiece!

Tuesday’s with Morrie by Mitch Albom

I have been wanting to read this book for a while. I know how emotional it will be, specifically with what I am going through right now, but I am finally open and ready to read this. The beauty behind their relationship seems so captivating. This seems like the perfect time to sit down, really take in the words that are being said, and written, and reflect on this one.

Darling Days: A Memoir by iO Tillett Wright

This is a coming of age, emotionally raw memoir that I cannot WAIT to get my hands on. It is a recent release (sept. 2016) that is a telling of a young girls growing up in the urban bohemia of New York. With a memoir like this, you can only get the gritty, emotional and personal development of someone. It seems as if it will be a provocative and tantalizing read.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

This is not a newly published book, but one that has been on my list for a while (so many books, so little time!). A mysterious, historical fiction? Sign me up. I see nothing but, yes… great reviews, for this one as well. I love books like these where they transport me to a completely new time and new world. Can’t wait to get this one up on my shelf!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I wanted to put a little self-help/reflecting book in here. I love reading these types of books bit by bit so I can really take them in and reflect on. This book basically simplifies the art of ‘tidying’ up your space. I think reading this book towards the end of the year is going to get me ready and put me in the right mindset for the new year and new goals. Even though it is about tidying your space, it is sure to help you reflect on other aspects of your life.

 

So that is my autumn reading list for this year! I hope you pick up one of the books mentioned above and read it with me! If any of my fellow bibliophiles would like to join me on Goodreads, you can find me here! I also run a really fun book club there (pssst. you should join!). You can join in on all the fun at Coffee & Books.

Leave your autumn reading list down below! If I have time, I will add it to mine!

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Selected Sixes: Current Podcasts

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Podcasts are all the rage. There are endless lists of podcasts that talk about any topic you can dream of. It is safe to safe that I am a Podcast junkie. I listen to them when I workout, when I am working, driving, walking… basically, whenever I have time.

Without any further delay, below are my current top favorite podcasts!

 

 

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Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso 

This is, hands down, my favorite podcast to listen to.

If you are unaware of who Sophia Amoruso, she is the founder and creator of NastyGal, and author of #GIRLBOSS (which I highly recommend picking up, like now) as well as Nasty Galaxy which was just released.

In this podcast, Sophia and fellow girl bosses talk about their accomplishments, hardships and all the in-between and ups and downs. It is extremely inspiring, as a woman, to listen to other women take life by the reigns and shoot for the stars. This entire podcast is focused and centered around the idea that you can be anything you want to be; just look at all these fab lady bosses who have created their own fempires. PREACH GIRL.

Sophia does a segment at the beginning of the show where she talks about her “girlboss moment, and then basically does a shout out bit that she pulls from women tweeting in their #girlbossmoments. I personally love this part because it is truly a beautiful moment to spend listening to other women succeed. It may be “I made my bed today” or it could be something like “I was promoted.” I love this segment because it celebrates the big moments, the little moments, and all of the in between moments. I love that; women fueling women in a positive way. We honestly need more of it in the world.

 

 

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Sword and Scale

I want to start off by saying listener discretion IS advised. This podcast is not for the faint of heart.

Sword & Scale is a true crime podcast that covers high-profile cases as they have been told, follows current trials that are going on, unsolved murders, missing person cases, and anything else twisted and demented. This podcast isn’t just a who did it podcast. It covers the most gruesome murders and acts that world has seen. Mike Boudet, the host of the podcast, does an amazing job at putting this podcast together. Boudet takes his time to put together each episode whether it is the ambient sounds/instrumentals, the real case recordings, or retellings; the podcast draws you in, in an instant. The content is dark, and sometimes uncomfortable and hard to listen to, but the way the entire show is put together is truly magnificent.

Each podcast is centered around a theme, and within that there is a specific case and/or multiple cases discussed within the episode. If the case is ongoing, he will touch base in a future episode; always keeping you updated on all of the recent trial notes.

(I promise this was the only morbid podcast on my list.)

 

 

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Radiolab

One of my other favorite sort of talk show podcasts is Radiolab. This podcast is hosted by Jay Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, and the success of their podcast has been exceptional. As a five-star podcast, you can’t get much better than this high quality show. With over seven thousand reviews, Radiolab has become a successful form of storytelling and exploration.

This podcast is educational, entertaining, stimulating and completely captivating. Each episode focuses on something different wether it be about something so basic like bacon, or something more emotionally connecting like addictions, to american football, this podcast takes a subject, divides it up and provides a beautifully put together show.

There is a lot of science and research behind each episode and that is why this show has been so successful. As one of the top rated podcasts, this will not disappoint. I highly encourage you to download a few episodes and take in some truly amazing information. Trust me, they make everything interesting!

 

 

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Serial 

Serial is one of the most popular and talked about podcasts. Serial is a podcast created by the same people who created This American Life (another highly recommended podcast). Hosted by Sarah Koenig, she covers an entire story in one season. She breaks it down episode by episode to give you the facts of this story/case. Since it is such a highly rated podcast, once again, the quality of the podcast is amazing! Sarah is a journalist and an amazing story-teller. She definitely makes the podcast that much better.

There have been 2 seasons; one that discusses the Adnan Syed case, whom was convicted of killing his ex girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Sarah does an amazing job. She does not just relay information that everyone already knows, she goes deeper. The second season is about Bowe Bergdahl, the United States Army Soldier that was held captive by the Taliban, then released under the condition of the exchange of 5 Taliban detainees. Currently, Bowe faces desertion and other charges. This case gets extremely political and sticky; that’s why it is so interesting. It is something that is going on currently that we can also follow outside the podcast.

That is one great thing about Serial. The cases Sarah covers are both cases that you can research on your own, gather your own intel, and make your own conclusions. You can watch it unfold, and that is something that is interesting and exciting.

 

 

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Limetown

Limetown is a fun one because it is not a talk show or a current affairs/news podcast. It is a ‘theater’ style podcast. So, what does that mean? It is all acting, and fake (which was a shock to me). The reason why Limetown is such an effective and successful podcast is how they record it. It is, once again, another high quality podcast, that is put together in such a brilliant way that I had no idea it was a theater podcast, and that Limetown wasn’t a real thing. I actually sat down and googled the Limetown mystery because I was so captivated and intrigued; I needed and wanted to know more. But alas, I found out it was all acting. This, however, did not change my perspective of the podcast. Since it is so well scripted and recorded, it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire episode.

The podcast follows reporter Lia Haddock as she attempts to report and find answers. Lime town was a small town in Tennessee, that suddenly disappeared. Three hundred men, women and children all gone in a second. I am not even going to give you a little hint about this podcast and what happens, because it is THAT good and you all must go listen, like now.

The unfortunate news is that it is rather short, and it has since gone on hiatus. I am actively waiting for the second season to be released!

 

 

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Lore

Another non-talkshow type of podcast that I really enjoy is Lore. Hosted my Aaron Mahnke, this podcasts explores cultural folklore and tales that fuel our now-a-days superstition. Aaron does a great job of creating a visual experience with his beautifully put together episodes. This podcast is refreshing because he is able to retell very old fairy tales or folklore myths and legends, and wrap it around in a modern setting. It is educational if those myths and legends interest you, but you are always learning something new with him.

Each episode is focused on a different legend, some creepy and new, some we have all heard of before. I definitely recommend sitting down and listening to a few because I know you will be sucked in immediately with his enchanting voice.

 

That is it for my selected sixes, podcast version. I hope you sit down and download a few, if not all, of these podcasts. They are so amazing in their own ways. Let me know if you have listened to any of these podcasts, or if you decide to download them, and what your favorite episodes are!  Of course leave any comments below of your favorite podcasts so I can check them out!

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Say Bye to Stress!

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We live in a world where we are constantly go-go-going, and we never stop. A factor of this feeling of a never ending cycle is stress, and it plays a huge factor in our daily life. Most of the time, we don’t really realize how it is negatively affecting our body and mind.

I wanted to share with you my ways of ‘de-stressing’ myself (+ some helpful apps, since… there is an app for that!)

 

Light Exercise

Sometimes when you’re stressed and mad and overwhelmed you just want to go run, or box or do heavy lifting to get all the aggression out. That is great and I applaud you for it! But for me, when I am stressed the best thing I can do is “light” exercise. Going on a walk, doing some stretches, working and strengthening certain yoga poses… all of these things help keep that stress road block under control. Why? Because with these types of exercise, I can really focus on my breathing. Feeling my chest go up and down, slowly inhaling and exhaling, theses things do wonders on the body and even more so for the mind.

A great app for yoga is Yoga Studio by Giam. It is basically like a mini yoga studio in your palm. It’s perfect for all stages and expertise. You can create your own class, or follow a collection of classes. I suggest using it if yoga is your thing.

Meditation is also a really great, and you can consider as a light exercise. You’re working on your breathing, you are opening your mind, closing your eyes and letting your body relax into a deeper meditation to help lift all of the troubles of that day. It is so relaxing that the stress and overwhelming feelings of the day tend to melt away.

One of my favorite mediation apps is Breathe. It is a great app that lets you track your meditations, your feelings, etc. They provide you with a small list of guided mediations based off your mood, or you can self practice with a meditation timer. I like going through the guided practices.

 

Write it Down

Redundant, because I know everyone will tell you this, but that’s because it works. Write. It. Down. If you’re struggling with a never ending to-do list for the day/week/month… write it down! If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’re not really sure why… write it down and explore your feelings and trust me, it will flow right out of you. Sometimes doing both is the key to decluttering your mind. Going to bed with an upset and jumbled mind will only lead to an awful nights sleep and an even more miserable morning. Trust me, you want to slay every morning! If you need help with that, check out my How to be a Morning #GIRLBOSS post on how to set yourself up for morning success.

One of my favorite apps to use for this comes with the iPhone! I use the reminders app religiously. If I need a quick little reminder on something I need to do for the day, it is in there. If I am going shopping and I need to make a list of everything I need to buy, it’s in there. Even my monthly and yearly reminders are in there. Once you start utilizing it and syncing it with a calendar, it is the best way to know you are on top of your schedule. When you aren’t on top of you’re schedule, it can be an added stress that you just don’t need! If you don’t have an iPhone, there are so many apps out there for reminders or list taking. Just to name a few, Microsoft’s OneNote, Wanderlist and even your phones basic notepad will help.

Just because I am super tech savvy, doesn’t mean I don’t use pen and paper. Pen and Paper is my favorite way to keep track of my daily schedule and tasks that need to get done. I carry a day planner and a Documents binder, with my weekly to-do’s, with me everywhere I go. having any sort of planner or notebook will help keep you organized and when something pops in your mind it is easy to just jot it down. Plus, writing everything out, either in a planner or on your phone before you go to bed, will get everything out of your head and help get you the sleep you deserve.

 

Declutter your Space

This is HUGE. If you come home stressed out from the abundance of things you have to do, and your room looks like a tornado ripped through it, you will not be successful or get as much done as you want. Most likely you will be even more stressed of the mess that is an easy fix. Many studies have shown that with a clean space, you are able to be more productive and prove to be more successful. Take 30 minutes to make your bed, clear your desk, throw out the trash, wipe down your surfaces, and make sure everything is in its place. This also includes your desk at work! If it is cluttered with papers and notebooks and 800 sticky notes with pending ‘to-dos,’ you’re never going to be able to focus. Now, you don’t have to go all spring cleaning on your workspace or room, but by decluttering and putting away somethings, you are bound to feel more relaxed in your space and therefore less stressed and more productive. Who doesn’t want that!

There may not be an app for a magic fairy to come clean your desk, but take that time to listen to a podcast, an audiobook or tedtalks. These are great to keep your mind stimulated while cleaning and plus you learn some pretty cool things!

 

Drink Water and Eat a Good Snack/Meal

After a long hard day don’t we all just want to crash on the couch, binge watch Project Runway, and eat our favorite junk food. Of course. I know I do. But… self control people! Come home to a large glass of water (spice it up with some yummy fruit infusions!) and have a healthy snack and/or meal. It’s easy to reach in the cupboard and grab a bag of chips or cookies. Instead whip up something healthier, like a quick acai smoothie or granola bowl, and your body will thank you.

There are tons of apps for recipes and quick fixes. Pinterest is a great one (watch out though: addicting…) if you’re growing through the snack or meal prep sections. It will link you to the original source and you can get goin’! Another great app is Handpick. It is like a Pinterest type app but designated for food and drinks. They give you topics to search, or you can search by dish or ingredients! Its really a nifty idea if you’re looking to create something at home with ingredients you already have in the kitchen! Select the ingredients you have and wallah… multiple dishes for you are pulled up for you so you can pick and choose, or save it for a later date.

 

Lastly, Take Some Time for YOU

In a fast paced world, we can get caught up in so many different things that you often lose yourself a bit along the way. Take sometime to pamper yourself, to spend time with yourself; do it for you. Sometimes all it takes is a nice hot bath, some candles and a relaxing thirty minutes to ground myself. And adding in an extra me time by painting my nails, doing a hair and face mask and just feeling good about myself, never hurts. Sometimes its opening up a book and spending sometime with characters or reading about your favorite person and their “I-did-it-so-can-you” story so you too can feel inspired. Sometimes its opening up a brand new journal and writing all your dreams out on paper and smiling about the accomplishments you will make. Don’t ever take away ‘you’ time. It is the most important time to help relax yourself and not worry or think about any thing else. You time is about you and celebrating you, and only you.

There is no real app for this because this should be where you disconnect and really spend time with yourself. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb and enjoy it.

 

I know our to-do lists are just getting longer by the second, but look at each of the things as stepping stones to success. If you fall off, don’t stress or get caught up in the overwhelming feeling that you will never get anything done. Remind yourself that you can do it, follow some of the steps above, and strap on those boots because you’re doing it for you.

 

Disclaimer: This is not an AD for any of the above Apps. I love these apps and they are personally some of my favorites that I use on a daily basis!

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Stuffed Pineapple Bowls

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As Summer comes to an end, so does our love and obsession for tropical… everything. Before the Summer light fades, and the leaves begin to fall, I have a quick and easy recipe you must try!

It is a really simple and fun dish. I mean, look how Instagram and Facebook worthy it is.

This dish is made to feed four (+ tons of leftovers, but minus the super cute pineapple bowls).

 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Fresh Pineapples
  • 4 bags of Frozen Jasmine Rice from Trader Joe’s (you can sub in brown rice or make your own rice, but these are just convenient, time wise)
  • 2 bags of the Teriyaki Chicken from Trader Joe’s
  • Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki
  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • Coconut Oil

 

I got most of my ingredients form Trader Joe’s, but most grocery stores will have the above in stock if you don’t shop there, or don’t have a TJ’s near by.

 

First off, you will need a decent size skillet to begin cooking your chicken in. Drop a few tablespoons, about 3, in the pan and let that heat up.

Next, slice both pineapples in half, length wise. Very carefully score the inside of the pineapples and scoop out the pineapple chunks and set them aside in a bowl, or to snack on ;-).

Wallah – you have your Instagram worthy bowls!

 

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Next, cook the chicken. I let it slowly cook on a medium to low heat while I prepare the rice and any extras that are going in to the mix.

Once the chicken is cooked through, add a half of a cup of the Island Soyaki sauce, and in Teriyaki Sauce (either the packets that come with the chicken, or your own) to taste. Stir this thoroughly. Add about a third of the scored pineapple chunks to the chicken in the pan. This allows the chicken to soak up the pineapple juice and the teriyaki sauce that you have added. Taste the mixture to make sure it is your level of sweet-aki! Let that sit on low, stirring and mixing occasionally.

At this point, you can add any extra veggies you would like in your bowl, to the chicken in the skillet. Bell peppers make a great addition and add some color to your dish. So do mushrooms!

For the rice, place one bag face down in the microwave for three minutes. These bags are self-ventilating and cook the rice perfectly. Once the rice is done, place it into a large bowl. Add a little bit more of the Island Soyaki to lightly coat the rice. Add another third of the pineapple to the rice mixture. Mix together.

The chicken and rice are now done, you just need to get creative and stuff those pineapples!

Place the rice on the bottom and layer on the chicken and veggies, if any. Add some extra pineapple on top for some added sweetness, or leave it off to the side for a sweet dessert/snack. Top it off with any extra sauce, if you’re feeling saucy!

You will have leftover rice and chicken, store it in the fridge and heat it up for breakfast with an egg over the top, or have it as a side with lunch or dinner.

This is a super fun and easy dish to make at home, or for some friends. They will think you slaved away all day creating this picture perfect dish, when really you threw it together in less than 30 minutes.

 

I want to thank the endless ideas from Pinterest and the Trader Joe’s Recipes page. This is not an advertisement for TJ’s, it is just where I shop for most of my groceries.

 

Let me know in the comments below if you try this recipe, or any variation of a stuffed pineapple bowl!

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Backyard Movie Nights

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I remember going to the Drive-In Movie Theater as a little kid and the excitement I would get was unreal. My family and neighbors would pack into the cars and head down the street to one of the last standing drive-ins, The Westminster Hi-Way 39 Drive-In. What a time it was to be alive. To see classics and new favorites on the big, glowing screen was something magical. Unfortunately, drive-in movie theaters are few and far between, but those of us that were lucky enough to experience them have nothing but the fondest of memories.

Thanks to Hotel Irvine, I was brought back to my childhood this past weekend. Hotel Irvine, a lifestyle hotel in Orange County, is hosting a summer series: Movie Nights in the Backyard. This weekend, I ditched the couch, and chose a cozy blanket under the stars.

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This past Friday, they were showing The Breakfast Club. It is one of my all time favorite movies, and my boyfriend had never seen this classic gem; it was the perfect date night.

The setup for the movie night was perfect. On the grassy area there were chairs and tables, but also plenty of room for people to bring their own chairs or blankets to square out a space for the movie. There were also games set out like Jenga, a life sized chess set, and ping pong for entertainment while you mingled and waited for the movie to start. There were twinkling bulb lights strung across the entire seating area; this made it feel like it was a bunch of friends getting together in a backyard.

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There was also a full buffet of quality food provide by the resident Hotel Irvine chef. There were fresh salads, cucumber dip and pita bread for appetizers. For the main course they were offering delicious burgers and fried chicken with grilled corn, and french fries. There is also a bar where you grab a few beers, cocktails, or a glass of wine.

I, of course, went for the delicious burger, with tons of fresh veggies, corn, and french fries. It was all so delicious, I couldn’t resist myself.

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They also offer a variety of movie theater classics like popcorn, ice cream and different types of candies. The popcorn is popped in an old fashioned popcorn cart, and handed out in little popcorn bags, the candies are displayed in jars and you can scoop as little or as much as you want. The ice cream is pushed around in an old school bike cart that jingles while it is going around the pavilion. All of the stations were set up with a rustic feel which was perfect for the aesthetic they were going for.

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Around dusk, the movie began and everyone settled down on their blankets or chairs, popcorn and candy in hand, to enjoy the movie. It was so fun to sit under the stars and watch the movie with others around laughing and cheering through the movie.

Hotel Irvine’s Movie Nights in the Backyard is the perfect place for a family get-together, a romantic date night, or just a fun meet up spot for friends. Admission is $5 per person (children under five are free!), so its an easy and affordable way to spend a summer night with family, friends and loved ones.

Hotel Irvine is showing their last backyard movie this Friday, August 26th. They are showing Pitch Perfect, so get up, sing and dance along and enjoy yourself!

Disclaimer: This is not an AD. This was not paid for or comped by Hotel Irvine. This was a fun date night my boyfriend surprised me with. If you would like any more information on Hotel Irvine and/or the Movie Nights in the Backyard, please direct yourself to the following link: http://www.hotelirvine.com/happenings/movienights/

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Skin Care Routine: 2016

When it comes to skin care, I pretty much obsess over it. There is nothing better than coming home after a long day, removing all your makeup, and feeling fresh. While you have slayed the day in your perfectly pink blush and sexy cat eye, your skin has been counting down the minutes until it can breathe again.

 

Disclaimer: This post is not an AD, and I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies mentioned below. I just really love these products.

 

There is nothing better than a good cleansing oil. (Don’t confuse this with a face oil! They are totally different.) A cleansing oil works with the oils already in your skin to lift and remove the bad oils, like makeup. And why is this so amazing? Well, this product not only removes the layers of makeup you have on by melting it away, it also cleanses your skin at the same time. Personally, I am pretty in love with the Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil. It is super lightweight, leaves your skin feeling clean and not greasy/oily, and smells amazing. Not to mention super affordable!

 

Another great way to cleanse your skin is using a micellar water. Micellar water breaks down all the oils and removes all the impurities on your skin, leaving your skin clean and hydrated. One of my favorite micellar water products is Simple’s Micellar Water. It is extremely affordable and does a great job removing pesky mascara raccoon eyes.

 

Once you’re done removing all your makeup, it’s best to cleanse your skin with an actual cleanser, so there is no left over residue. I love moisturizing, creamy cleansers and recently I have been loving the Mario Badescu Keratoplast Cream Soap. It’s a cleanser that reduces redness in the skin to leave a more even toned complexion. This is also a great morning cleanser since it is super soft and gentle. Another great cleanser that de-clogs pores is Boscia’s Detoxifying Black Cleanser. It heats up when you start circulating and massaging it into your skin for a nice deep clean. It works really well if you are using some sort of facial brush like a Clarasonic or Foreo.

 

Next, time to tone! I love Mario Badescu’s Cucumber Cleansing Lotion. It helps remove any pore-clogging impurities, and the cucumber helps refresh your face, especially if you use it after a warm shower. In the morning, I also like to use a toner. I use Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray. It has aloe, herb and rose water. It is perfect when you are first waking up and you need a light mist to refresh your face and skin.

 

Once the toner is dry, I go in with my moisturizing routine. I would say that this is the most important part of my entire routine. At night I like to apply a face oil (not the cleanser!) right after the toner. My obsession with this brand is unreal, but I love the Skyn Iceland Arctic Face Oil. It is so lightweight, yet so hydrating on the skin; I am obsessed. It leaves your skin looking flawless in the morning, and you wake up not feeling overly oily or dry. There is such a perfect balance with this product. I could go on forever about oils, and how great they are, but I will stop here (for now!)

 

After the oil, I like to put on a night cream and eye cream (see, I am obsessed with moisturizing). The First Aide Beauty Ultra Repair Cream works wonders. Since it is a night cream, it is thicker, but on the skin it feels lightweight and you don’t feel like you are being weighed down by a thousand pound moisturizer. For eye creams, when my dark under eyes circles decide to come out and play, I like using First Aid Beauty’s Eye Duty Triple Remedy. This eye cream brightens, de-puffs and soothes the very sensitive under eye area. It has a metal applicator and it feels very soothing when you are applying to your under eye.

 

In the morning, a great moisturizer is the Mario Badescu Moisture Magnet. It has SPF and it is super rich. I will warn you, it can be pretty oily if over used; a little goes a long way! A more lightweight eye cream I like to use in the morning, if necessary, is the Balance Me Wonder Eye. It is very light, but very moisturizing.

 

Another product I like, but is not an eye cream, is Simple’s Revitalizing Eye Roll-on. I have been obsessed with this product for a long time, and I have gotten others hooked on it. It has a roller ball which cools the under eye while waking those tired eyes. The cucumber in the formula helps hydrate and tighten the area. It is seriously my secret weapon and a miracle product.

 

I can go on and on about skin care. It is such a huge part of my daily routine and I want it to be apart of yours. If you have any favorites, and them in the comments below!

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How to be a Morning #GIRLBOSS

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I have vigorously pushed myself to become a morning person my entire adult life. Of course it is not easy, but more and more people ask me how I am able to wake up early, and get my mini morning to do list done. Some days are harder than others, but it is all about sticking to a routine that works for you.

 

A morning routine should cater to you and what you need to accomplish in the morning to get yourself feeling good and ready to tackle the day. Here are my tips and tricks on how I tackle each day like a #GIRLBOSS.

 

The Night Before

The night before is a huge section of time that is key in changing a habit and/or lifestyle, especially one that requires an early morning wakeup call. Having a good dinner, drinking a lot of water, going on a walk, doing yoga, stretching, etc., all of these little things really add up, and in the morning your body will thank you.

 

Don’t just get a good night sleep… get a great night sleep. The number one killer for that is the obsession to the tech world. It’s simple, put your phone away and don’t sleep near it. Also, most experts say that the bright blue light blocks your ability to fall asleep. This blue light is not just your phone. Unplug from everything: laptop, television, iPad, ebooks. Turn them all off and decompress from the day. Talk with your significant other or family, play with your pet, read a book – these are just a few things that you can do to wind down.

 

For me personally, I have my do not disturb setting preset. I have it set from nine pm through five am, and it has been such a huge factor of being able to get the sleep I deserve. It’s also super helpful when you are trying to get stuff done and don’t need those pesky notification popping up or ringing. Apple has also added a new feature called Night Shift. This feature is in the front home screen option as well as the Display & Brightness settings page. This feature changes the display on your iPhone to a warm tone, not the harsh blue tones that you see during the day. This will help if you end up using your phone or check it every now and then during the night. You can set up a schedule for this feature (similar to the Do Not Disturb) so it comes on during the set hours.

 

Setting an alarm is great (we all do it!), but don’t set five alarms, ten minutes apart. You consciously know that you have a little time to spare, and you end up snoozing rather than getting up. I suggest the Sleep Cycle app. It costs a little money, but it has changed my morning game. As you sleep, Sleep Cycle tracks your sleeping patterns and will wake you up when you are not in a deep sleep. It also silences all other notifications that may go off during the night. I highly recommend it. Check it out in the app store. (Not an AD, just my honest opinion if you need a little help in the A.M.!)

 

Mentally preparing an outfit, or physically putting one together, is a great thing to do the night before. It helps you not scramble in the morning, trying to get ready while you are half zombie/half human. There are times when my alarm goes off for a little too long, and whoops, I have ten minutes to get ready, get a breakfast in me, and get to work. By setting these things out the night before, it will help with that early morning rush.

 

Nightly/weekly to do lists are exciting and fun, but they are also super helpful to get the little pop-up windows out of your head. Write down any tasks/notes that you need to get done before going to bed. Going to bed worrying about all the pending tasks for the next day is exhausting! Let yourself sleep peacefully knowing that you wrote down all the little things.

 

 

The Morning Of

Contrary to belief, stretching right when you wake up is not good for your body. Your body is stiff from being immobile for hours. Instead, wake up, smile at yourself, drink some water (!!!!!) and start getting your body moving. After you are up and actually living again, stretching is a great way to get the blood flowing.

 

You may have noticed those exclamation points for that little water tip. Good! Drinking water in the morning jumpstarts your system. It’s so good for you. I normally drink a glass when I wake up to get my brain going and blood flowing. Rehydrating yourself in the morning is so crucial to starting your day off right.

 

Rather than checking social medias or emails in the morning, I like to use this app called Elevate. This helps your brain wake up and gets you in the right mind set for the day. The app pre selects three brain games for you. It keeps track of your progress and has achievement stats. It’s a great way to start your morning when you see “Congratulations you achieved three perfect scores;” it’s like a little pat on the back. And who doesn’t want one of those!

 

In the morning, I like to rinse off as well. Don’t use a steamy hot setting for your shower. Use a medium to cooler temp. This helps to stimulate your body and wake yourself up.

 

Another great way to get your body up is to meditate, reflect, write in a journal or gratitude log, etc. Something where you are being mindful of yourself is really helpful to starting your day with a clean slate. We all need that! If you are having an exceptionally rough day/week/month, try doing the above at night as well to decompress and get it out of your system before going to bed.

 

Lastly, we are all human. No one is waking up like Sleeping Beauty. It takes time to get your body on a personal timer and schedule. Start it slow, and sooner than later you too will be dressed to impress and taking names at 6am.

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