February 2015 Favorites

February Favorites

I am slowly making the transition to all natural beauty products and have been having fun seeking out new products to try. My goal is to streamline the amount of products that I use and have a more minimalist approach to buying beauty products. I have also been re-visiting some books in my book collection and finally getting around to unpacking some of things from my move last year. Here are my favorite things from February 2015. Continue reading

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#SelfCareFeb Day 24: The Handbag Overhaul

#SelfCareFeb Day 24

This might be my favorite challenge yet! Today’s #SelfCareFeb is all about getting organized and clearing clutter. Be honest, when was the last time you cleaned out your handbag/wallet/purse? When I dumped mine out, I found $10 in dollar bills, old food, a lint roller, a broken mirror (doesn’t that mean bad luck??), and an unused Starbucks gift card. Having a messy and unkempt bag can cause unnecessary stress and worry. Carrying around a heavy bag can also affect your posture and cause shoulder pain. If you constantly lose things in your bag or are convinced that you are becoming a bag lady, this challenge is for you. Grab your handbag, find a comfy place to sit, and let’s get started!

Continue reading

Create Space for the Things You Love

My desk is a direct reflection of my state of being right now.

My desk is a direct reflection of my state of being right now.

I have visited my blog so many times in the past year. I would start a draft of a post, then promptly delete it while convincing myself that I don’t have time to blog and that my time should be spend doing more important things. My life has been in the craziest state of flux over the past 12 months. I moved AGAIN (more on that later…), I have had to make some really big decisions, and to sum it up, I have felt like the proverbial duck that looks calm above the surface of the water but underneath the surface is paddling furiously to stay afloat.  Continue reading

Recipe: Smoked Salmon Open Faced Sandwich

I have a passion for healthy eating and I am always on the hunt for simple yet tasty recipes to prepare each day. I came across a variation of this sandwich a few months ago on Youtube, but I added some ingredients to make it more filling for when I eat it for lunch or dinner.  I eat this at least once a week and it takes less than five minutes to prepare if you have all of the ingredients on hand. There are several fun ways to prepare this recipe. See below for variations.

Smoked Salmon Open Faced Sandwich (One serving size)

You Will Need:

1 “Sandwich Thins” Multi-Grain Roll

Smoked Salmon

1/2 of an Avocado, sliced, chopped, or mashed

1 Roma Tomato, sliced

1 teaspoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste (not pictured)

Recipe:

1. Take one sandwich thin multi-grain roll and split it in half. This will give you two slices.

2.  Take your avocado and distribute it evenly between the two slices of the roll.

3. Take your tomato slices and distribute them evenly on the two slices of the roll.

4. Take out one serving of smoked salmon from the packet and distribute it evenly on the two slices of the roll. (You can freeze the rest in a ziploc bag and use it up later)

5. Drizzle the top of the salmon with lemon juice

6. Grind some fresh black pepper over the top of the completed sandwich.

7. Enjoy!
Variations:

– Make it vegan/vegetarian friendly by omitting the smoked salmon and adding a crumbled meat-substitute patty on top (I like to use Morningstar Farms’ Black Bean Veggie Burger Patty).

– Use a chopped hard boiled egg instead of the smoked salmon (smoked salmon can be high in sodium so a boiled egg is a great substitute).

– Sprinkle on some flax seed or very good quality extra virgin olive oil.

– Jazz up your avocado by adding diced red onions and some cilantro (or guacamole if you have some).

– Lightly toast the sandwich rolls in a toaster to give the sandwich a crunchy texture.

-Add mayonnaise or your favorite sandwich toppings.
Let me know if you try this recipe!

Slow Down

I have been super busy over the past few days. As such, I have been feverishly trying to cram a lot into my evenings. Last night I found myself: 1. Watching the season premier of Big Brother (the only show that I watch on regular TV since I quit cable a few months ago), 2. Editing an essay, 3. Chatting with a friend on g-chat, 4. Listening to Pandora radio, 5. Chatting with some friends on Kakao Talk via text on my phone, 6. Looking up a recipe, 7. Surfing Facebook, 8. Eating a snack, and 9. Pondering the meaning of life, all simultaneously. I have a serious habit of multitasking. I just kept opening more and more windows on my computer and adding more unnecessary stress on myself. Finally I looked up at my clock and saw that it was really late, and I knew that I had to cook lunch for the next day and to prepare a snack.  I turned off my TV but kept my Pandora playing and continued on with my conversation with my friends as I headed to my kitchen.

I decided that spaghetti would be a quick and easy meal so I got out two pots and started boiling water in one and put the sauce and some shrimp in another.  Once I had those going, I decided to start on my snack. This particular recipe required a can of black beans. I was eager to get back to my g-chat and text conversations, so I hurriedly tried to open the lid. I successfully opened the can, but then I decided to fold the lid back so that the beans could flow easily out of the can.  I hastily grabbed onto the lid of the can. The next thing that I saw was the edge of the lid going straight into my thumb. [I could insert a really gory picture here, but I’ll spare you :-)]

 I recoiled in horror and ran to my bathroom. At first I thought that maybe I just grazed my thumb since it wasn’t bleeding, but then it started gushing blood. My bathroom looked like a crime scene. I didn’t have any bandaids, so I wrapped my thumb in several paper towels and secured them with a ponytail holder. As I sat there applying pressure to my thumb, I peered out at my kitchen to see my pot of boiling water bubbling over, spaghetti sauce splattering all over the place, and my phone buzzing all to the soundtrack of some Mariah Carey from my computer.  I had no choice but to sit there and concentrate on trying to stop the bleeding.

It took me nearly amputating my finger to realize that I needed to slow down and not try and do everything at once. I thought this was a fitting post as we head into the weekend. Take it easy! Have faith that things will work themselves out in perfect timing.

Happy Friday!

 

Why I Quit Cable: The Beginning [Part 1]

I, much like the typical person, watch a lot of TV. I used to have a set schedule of the various shows that I would tune in to each week. Sunday evenings were reserved for Bravo and VH1 reality shows. I also had to have my weekly fix of Glee, The Real Housewives of…(all of the cities), The Amazing Race, The Kardashians (don’t judge me, lol), Pretty Little Liars, Basketball Wives, Love and Hip Hop, Bad Girls Club…the list goes on and on.   My life revolved around a fixed TV schedule.

 When I first moved to Philadelphia, a certain cable company, which shall remain nameless, offered me a new customer discount. I was only paying around $60 a month for both cable and Internet. This particular company is famous for is their ability to offer service with “no contract.”  This means that you can cancel your service at any time. However, the fact that there is no contract also means that they can change your rates whenever they want. 

After my new customer discount year was over, my bill started to increase steadily each month.  By February 2012 my bill hit a whopping $120 dollars for 80 digital channels and their lowest Internet speed. I called them several times to negotiate my rate, but all they tried to do was offer me free HBO for a year and a $10 a month discount.

 I was faced with a dilemma. I could take their offer of a $10 dollar a month discount, switch to another company (their cheapest package started at 99.99), or cancel my cable altogether and just keep Internet.  I had no idea how I would function without TV. What would I do with all that free time? How would I stay up do date with what is going on in the world?

I cancelled my cable in May 2012, and I can honestly say that I don’t miss it. I’m thankful that the cable company raised my rates because it shed light on something important that I was ignoring… 

Check back for Part 2 next week.