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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