Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dog Person or a Cat Person?

Have you guys seen this video? If you haven't you're missing out.  I'll give you a second to watch it.
Back? Good.  And you're welcome.  My brother showed me this video a while ago and I had totally forgot about it until recently. It doesn't really have much to do with this post, but it's a good laugh.

Now that we got that out of the way...
I came across this quiz the other day and of course I had to take it.  My result was that I am a dog person. And because one quiz was not enough, down the rabbit hole I went with "dog or cat?" quizzes.  I did this one which told me I am a cat person.

This got me thinking...what do I think I am? 
Let's start with story time. Growing up we always had both dogs and cats.  When I was young I always loved our dogs but I thought of myself as a cat person.  I even brought my cat to show and tell in Kindergarten (lol). 
Then we found Buster (he was a stray) when I was in 1st grade and I instantly became a dog person. Ever since then I've been a dog person. I always liked our cats too but was way more partial to the dogs.  There's something about them running up to greet you when you get home and the way that they always mostly sometimes listen.
Our Buster Brown on Christmas
Fast forward to last year. My brother Sam and his girlfriend Natalie adopted two cats while they lived in North Carolina.  When they found out they would be moving to the Caribbean for a couple years, they decided it would be best to leave the cats here in the states. And just like that- Dany and Pounce became our roomies.

I probably would not have adopted cats, and I know that Abel wouldn't have.  But we've seriously fallen in love with these two.  They're so fun to live with (even despite the occasional 5 am wake ups) and I really enjoy their company.

There's so many stereotypes about cats-and I pretty much believed all of them.  Living on our own with the cats is so much different than living at my parents with them. I have learned so much about cats.

They have so much personality! Both of them are different and have their little quirks.  Pounce (the tiger) is very anxious but very loving if he is comfortable with you.  He's the more sensitive one, and loves to cuddle in bed.  Dany, on the other hand, is more independent and sassy, but prefers to cuddle on the couch.  So weird right?



They are absolutely fascinated with bathtub/shower/bathroom.  Apparently they've always been like this, and we can't even take showers without them sitting on the edge.

A couple weeks ago, I woke up sick.  Pounce NEVER cuddles on the couch, but he literally sat with me all day and took care of me.

So am I a dog person or a cat person? I still miss having a dog and really want one.  But after living with these two adorable balls of fur, I definitely have fallen in love.
I guess I'm just an animal person.

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Coconut Oil

It seems like there are a million and one posts out there about uses for coconut oil. But I sometimes question if all of the claims are true- I mean really, shampoo? Sunscreen? Deodorant?! So, I set out to find which of these claims actually work for me. Here's my favorite tried and true uses for coconut oil that I personally love.

Coffee
A while ago, I posted a recipe for a homemade pumpkin spiced coffee using coconut oil. Sounds weird right? It's totally yummy and foamy deliciousness.

Scrub
Not too long ago, Kait posted a recipe for a DIY Coffee Scrub that uses coconut oil. I made this recently and it was awesome! No need to buy expensive coffee scrubs when you can make this one. 

Moisturizer
Coconut oil is a great moisturizer! I used to use I on my face because I have SUPER sensitive skin. I've since found a really good face moisturizer, but I still use just coconut oil when I'm in a pinch or when I want something super moisturizing on my face. I use it as a body moisturizer regularly. 

Cooking
This one goes without saying. You can use it in pretty much all recipes that call for oil, and in some recipes you can use it instead of butter (but why would you want to do that?!) 

Makeup remover
Again, my face is super sensitive so coconut oil is my method of choice for removing eye makeup. It works really well, and as a bonus it's really moisturizing to the sensitive eye area. 


Friday, January 22, 2016

Exploring Northern California: Healdsburg


Not too long ago we ventured up the 101 to explore a place I've wanted to go since we moved-Healdsburg. This town was adorable! It's one of those towns with so much character.  Everywhere you turn there is amazing architecture on the buildings and streets.


I wish I would have counted how many wine tasting rooms there were (but I didn't) and we joked that every other storefront was one! Not that we're complaining, hopefully I can cross that off my list of things I want to do up here.  
After walking around in this adorable place for a while, we were starving.  We didn't plan ahead and happened upon a place that had gourmet grilled cheese and it caught my eye (I LOVE grilled cheese). Admittedly, I was underwhelmed by it. It was definitely good but it was overpriced for something I could easily have made myself.



We also explored Shed, which was so cool.  I had read about it in Sunset and knew I wanted to go.


They have a cafe, fermentation bar, coffee bar, and a shop all under one roof.  I wish we would have eaten here because the food looked delicious.  We shopped a little and I just wanted to take everything home! haha



We had coffee at Flying Goat Coffee which was delicious and warmed me up on the cold rainy day.




Our last little adventure there was this adorable little bookstore. We spent over an hour here and quite honestly I could have spent a couple more.  They had a ton of books and I even found a couple to take home.


We loved this little town and I can't wait to go back, hopefully soon!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sausage, Black Bean, and Greens Soup

This was such an easy recipe to throw together on a weeknight after school, and it tasted delicious! My mom makes a similar soup which I love that uses kielbasa instead of ground sausage and kale instead of mixed greens. I used these things because I had them on hand and it turned out really good.

Sausage, Black Bean, and Greens Soup
Ingredients
1 lb ground sausage
1 Tbs flour
4 c chicken broth
1/4 c milk
1 Tbs parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
2 c mixed greens, chopped
3 c black beans

  1. Brown sausage in pan on medium heat until cooked through
  2. Add flour and stir to coat sausage
  3. Add milk and stir to combine
  4. Heat on medium high (but don't let it boil!) until warm, then on low for 3-5 minutes, allowing the liquid to thicken some
  5. Add chicken broth and whisk so fully combined
  6. Add remaining ingredients
  7. Bring to boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes
  8. Enjoy!
And there you have it! This recipe is simple and easy to throw together. I hope you enjoy it!

Linking up with  A Little R&R Wednesdays!
My Flagstaff Home

Monday, January 18, 2016

Free Valentine's Printables

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I created a couple free printables for you guys. They're a perfect easy way to add some Valentine's Day cheer to your house/apartment/office/anywhere else. I hope you love them!






Linking up with A Little R&R Wednesdays!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Goals for 2016

It's the start of 2016 and while I don't necessarily like the idea of making resolutions for January 1st, I think it's important to set goals to strive for in the new year. It gives me structure and reminds me what I really want for the coming year. I'm sure many many bloggers are doing the same kind of posts this time of year, but I really would like to get this down so I can stay accountable! Here are some things I've come up with that I'd like to focus on throughout the year. 
Blogging
-Post 3 times a week: While I'd ideally love to post Monday through Friday, with my school and work schedule it's just not realistic. I'm aiming for 3 times a week and I think that'll be doable.
-Increase my social media following: I don't want to put a number on this, but I want to focus on it in order to help my blog grow!

Health
-Actually work out: I know I know, so stereotypical but this has really been a struggle for me since we moved.  I've always been active but these last couple of months I've really been slacking and I've noticed the effects of it.
Along the same lines...
-Eat better: My mom is really good about feeding us healthy foods but since moving out I've been slacking in this area as well. Learning to balance school, work, cooking and keeping up an apartment for the first time has been an adjustment. Towards the end of the semester, I started figuring out some things that I could do to make weeknight dinners easier so I think this semester will be much better for us.

My overall health goal is to feel comfortable in my body.  This includes eating right and working out, as well as being confident in my own skin.  I'll be working on all three of these things this year!

School/Work
-Focus: This semester is going to be tough.  Like really tough.  I've just switched my major and the classes I'm taking are difficult ones so I'm going to need some major focus to get through this.

Travel/Things To Do/Places to Go
Explore Northern CA: I still feel like there's so much for us to see up here and we haven't seen very much! I'd love to explore some of the places up here and plan to create a bucket list for our time here. 
Wine tasting: We've lived in Northern CA for almost 6 months and still haven't gone wine tasting. Crazy right?!  I've been before but not since  we've lived here and I'd really like to go.
Horse races: A couple friends and talked about going to the horse races down south last year but it never happened.  I'm hoping we make it happen this year.

Miscellannieous Things (get it? ;)
Faith: I used to go to church every week at home and loved it.  Since moving, I haven't gone and I'm definitely missing it.  I want to work on attending church as well as incorporating this into my daily life.
Savings: I'd like to work at putting more away in my savings account for school, trips, and other things.  I do pretty well at this now but would like to improve.
Credit Card Debt: Ah the pesky credit cards.  This comes from furnishing a new apartment. Though we did it on a budget, moving is expensive and I plan to have the debt paid off ASAP.
Read: I LOVE reading, but I hardly read any books last year.  School kicked my butt last semester and I felt like I had no time for reading.  I'm hoping I can change that this year and aim to read at least one book a month.  Easy enough, right?!

Linking up again with the wonderful bloggers for the Be Bold in 2016 Linkup!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Easy Weekday Lunches

Last semester, I was at school from 9am until after 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I had to eat lunch while I was there. At first, I ate a ham sandwich every day but that got old very fast. I started adding different things and switching up my lunch to keep things interesting and I figured out some pretty good combinations.  
What's so great is that sandwiches, salads, and wraps are so customizable so it's easy to add things that you like. You can pretty much take any of the veggies and/or meats that you like, throw them in a tortilla, on bread, or in a bowl with lettuce and you're good to go! I also love trying different tortillas for wraps because it's a super easy way to change things up.
I pretty much use a combination of the following ingredients:

Meats
ham, salami, pepperoni, bacon, grilled chicken breasts
(turkey, sliced chicken, pastrami, and other lunch meats are also good options. I just prefer the ones listed above!)

Veggies
lettuce, bell peppers, avocado, cabbage, zucchini slices, tomato
specifically for salads: corn, broccoli, artichoke hearts, cauliflower, black beans, carrots, salsa 

Condiments
ranch dressing, caesar dressing, sesame vinaigrette dressing (or any asian style dressing), mayo, mustard  

Here's some of my favorites that I've tried and are perfect if you feel like you're stuck in a lunch-rut or if you just want to try something different.  


Monday, January 11, 2016

5 Ways to Cure the Post-Holiday Blues

Is anybody else not ready to get back to work/school/whatever else yet? Who am I kidding of course we're not! I had such a good time being home with my family.  I  think the reason I don't want to get back to real life more than usual is because we had a such a good two weeks with my whole family, which doesn't happen very often. I was a little bummed to have to leave home again, but I've come up with several things that helped me get over it.
1. Do something productive - Is there something you know needs to get done? Or several things? Make a to-do list and turn it into a to-done list. I always feel better after I've done something productive and checking things off a to-do list are those little victories that make you feel accomplished.
2. Workout - This is most likely on your radar since it's the new year so why not make time for that run or that workout? The other day I was having a bad morning and I kid you not- I went for a run and felt SO much better.  Now if I could just convince myself to do that every day, we'd be good to go.  Plus, exercising releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. (<--name that movie!)
3. Check a goal off the list - You know that list of New Year's Resolutions/Goals you made? Ya that one. Now's the time to get on one of those.  Just like #1 above, completing one of those goals or even starting to work towards one will feel productive and boost your confidence in getting all your goals done.
4. Go somewhere - When all else falls, go somewhere! Now we can't all just jet off to a far away land when we want to (wouldn't that be nice?!) but taking a day trip or even just going for a drive can do wonders.  
5. Eat - No I'm not joking. Food is one of my favorite things and good food is good for the soul. Go out to eat, or to ice cream, or to coffee. Bonus points if you actually throw on makeup and something other than workout clothes (rare for me). It'll feel great to get out of the house and do something fun.

There you have it. I hope these things help you get back into the groove of things and help you make 2016 great! Or even just good.  Average?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Word of the Year

I've never done a "Word for the Year" but I figured why not start this year! My word is
E M B R A C E

Why did I choose this word?
2015 was a crazy year for me. There was so much going on and so many new adventures.  The second half of the year was full of so many new things.  I moved out of my parents house for the first time to go to college, and had a really hard time adjusting to it.  I was far from family and didn't like living in the city we're in.  I was struggling with whether I should change my major (again) and didn't know what to do.
It was a hard time for me.  I know I know, things could be WAY worse.  My problems were/are small compared to many.  And this is part of the reason I decided on the word embrace.
I want to embrace what comes my way.  I want to take what life throws me and conquer it. It may be challenging, and it may be hard but I'm ready for whatever comes in 2016, and I'm going to embrace it.
I know there's going to be more trials ahead of me this year, but I'm just going to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. God has a plan for me and that it will all work out.

Linking up for the Be Bold in 2016 Link up!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cinnamon Apple French Toast

I have a confession- I never liked French toast until a couple weeks ago.  I know, I know crazy right?! I just hate overly sweet stuff and I never thought about eating it without syrup (DUH Annie). My mom's made it so many times but I never tried her's until I was home not too long ago. It was SO good and now I've been eating it like once a week since then. 
So naturally I thought it'd be a good idea to put it together with some of my favorite things- cinnamon and apples. This turned out delicious and I'll definitely be having it again. 

Ingredients
1/2 Tablespoon + 1/2 Tablespoon butter
1 cup diced apples
2teaspoons +1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
3 slices of bread of your choice (I used wheat this time but love it with sourdough)

1. Heat medium size pan on medium heat
2. Add butter and melt
3. Add apples and 2 teaspoons cinnamon and cook until apples are soft, about 3-5 minutes
4. While apples are cooking, mix together 3 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in Tupperware/bowl/plate big enough to fit a slice of bread in
5. When apples are done set aside
6. Heat another pan on medium heat with 1/2 Tablespoon butter
7. Dip bread in egg mixture on one side, then the other (I like to let it sit there for a bit on each side so it really soaks it up)
8. Fry in pan a couple minutes each side, until they are crispy
9. Place on plate and top with Apple topping
10. Enjoy!

Linking up with...

Monday, January 4, 2016

On Being Grateful

Hello again! 
It's been a while. Things got so busy with school and work towards the end of the semester and I just had no time for anything else! Typical excuse right? I know, I know.  I decided to just take the rest of December to work on the blog and get things ready to start fresh in the new year. 
#NewYearNewMe (<- total sarcasm)

I thought it would be a good first post back to start the year with a post about gratefulness.  So naturally, I'm linking up with Ember Grey for the Grateful Heart Linkup.  Here are a couple things that I am grateful I enjoyed in 2015 and want to remember in 2016 so I can start this year off right.

Family
I'm so lucky to have an amazing family.  I moved out of my parents house for the first time this year and it has been a harder adjustment than I thought (my parents are my best friends!) My brothers and I are spread out and I don't get to see them as much as I'd like.  I've always loved and valued my family immensely, but 2015 really took my appreciation of them to a new level. I also have to mention that I am So completely grateful for all three of my brothers' significant others.  I absolutely LOVE them and am so glad to have them in my life. This brings me to my next point...

lovely iPhone photo quality
Spending the Holidays with Family
With one of my brothers living previously in North Carolina and now in the Caribbean, getting the family together is not an easy task. We hadn't seen him in almost a year, and the whole family with significant others hasn't been together since 2013, so you could say we were all really looking forward to Christmas this year. I'm so grateful to be able to spend this time with all of them and I truly am sad that it's going to end!

Friends
I've been pretty lucky to have some great friends in my life.  They are all so supportive and genuinely good people that I'm glad to have. I would be remiss to not mention my sweet friend Mattie.  I was so nervous to start this blog and I'm so glad that we're going through this journey of blogging together.
(Sidenote, her blog is amazing! Check it out- Mattie's Makings)

I know these are all pretty basic things to be grateful for, but with all the craziness of the last couple months I've really learned to appreciate these simple things (cheesy, I know but it's so true!).

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

Also linking up with Love The Here and Now and Em Busy Living for the Awesome Linkup!