Friday, January 31, 2014

Favorite Products of 2013

So we're a month into is everyone?  A new semester that was supposed to be more relaxed than the last has somehow ended up being even busier, but I'm remaining optimistic for the new challenges and adventures I'll be encountering!

It's taken me awhile to compile all of my 2013 favorites, but when it came down to it, I knew exactly what to reach for.

I definitely started trying new products this year and found new products that I couldn't live without.  I think the biggest change in my makeup routine has been adding bold lips into as many looks as I can.  I used to be so afraid of bold lips, and could have never imagined wearing a bright fuchsia lipstick out, let alone a dark vampy plum color!  I've learned to just rock it and wear what I want, whenever I want.  Do I get some weird looks for wearing bright red or a deep purple lip to the grocery store sometimes?  Yes.  Do I care? Not anymore!  Let them stare all they want.

I also had the chance to try out a bunch of new products this year, particularly because I was in Germany from January to April.  German beauty brands are not as well known, but they are just as fabulous as American brands.

Without getting into too much detail yet, here is the whole compilation of products:

To see more details, click to keep reading!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Opposite of Losing My Cookies and (Healthy) Addictions featuring Avocados

I'm back.  And by "back," I mean I've been finally cooking again. More time = more experimenting.

A new year means new inspiration and ideas - and a fully stocked pantry is certainly giving me motivation to do something with it!  My obsessions recently are quinoa, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and kale..convenient that I find a recipe using all of those!  But..not convenient that I didn't take a good picture of the AMAZING salad I put together incorporating all those ingredients.  Don't worry though, it'll come up again in the very near future.  Because I'm obsessed.

In the meantime, I tried out some recipes from a handy cookbook that I found recently.  It's the Gluten Free on a Shoestring: Quick and Easy by Nicole Hunn.  I know nothing about her, but I've been enjoying the quick and easy recipes in it.  I'm also not a gluten-free eater, but like to reduce my white carb intake in any way I can.  Here is her chicken fajita recipe that I modified into a pseudo fajita bowl...ish thing.

Read more to see the recipe, more food, and COOKIES!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Taking care of some "business"

You know that feeling when you have absolutely nothing to do - no deadlines, appointments, or major stressors?  Yeah.  That's what I'm feeling right now.  Less than a week before my semester starts again, I'm finally beginning my winter break after handing in something for a major deadline.

With some free time on my hands, I've been taking care of some things on my laptop - easily forgotten, shoved in a corner things like clearing up my never-ending bookmarked pages, cleaning up my emails, updating the little things on my blog (helllooo, I have a new about me, and a much cleaner consolidated "follow me" section for my various social media sites). They're things that don't necessarily take long on their own, but put together...I've been on my laptop non-stop all day.

One of the things I've been meaning to update is my Pinterest account.  I confess, it's not my most visited site, but it has its posting all my recipes in one place. I've updated all my boards with things I actually want (new wishlist), food ideas that I've found and tried in various places (breakfast ideasdesserts, and every other type of recipe), and I'm in the process of uploading my my own recipes.  This will be an easier way of finding everything food related without having to search through my entire blog.

I'm happy to say I'm still not addicted to Pinterest, even after spending the entire day on the site, but it's safe to say that I have a whole new appreciation for it!  I will eventually be adding other things, but for now, food has been a big-enough project.  

Now for the next couple days of break while I have time, I'll be busy working on some new posts, so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reflections on 2013 and Looking Into 2014

Without a doubt, 2013 has been an incredible year for me. 

It was a transformative year of personal reflection, growth, and discovery.    Just to name a few things, I traveled abroad, explored a new culture, discovered a sense of belonging, set up new fitness goals and stuck with them, took on graduate school, and had an amazing internship experience.  None of these were without their challenges, but it is with these challenges that I have grown as a person and become a step closer to the person I want to be.  
While it seems like I disappeared off the earth to probably a lot of people (heck, it seems like I was more anti-social this year than ever before), I took time this year to focus on myself – to accomplish goals I had set for myself, to find and do what made ME happy, and not let other people affect what I believed was the right thing to do.  I could not have asked for a better year in making changes in my own life and being one step closer on a never-ending journey to discovering what makes me me.  

Here's a look at what I'm most proud of this year:

  1. Finding a place and time where I was completely happy
  2.  Experiencing new cultures and being spontaneous and living life to the fullest
  3. Being accepted to my university’s graduate program and doing well in some of the most challenging courses I've ever taken
  4. Eating clean 70-80% of the time and improving my cooking
  5. Fitnessfitnessfitness.  Remaining completely dedicated; starting heavy-lifting even though I'm still learning, sticking to a good schedule  (and seeing its results!)
  6. Getting an internship I’ve always wanted
  7. Starting a blog!  A failed resolution from 2012...
  8. Improving my time management (note: it takes some extreme organization to manage being a full-time student with graduate and undergraduate courses, having an internship, a part-time job, going to the gym 6 times a week, AND still getting sleep).

And here are my top moments in picture form - scattered in here are some of my happiest and most photo worthy moments with a heavy focus on my travel around Europe!

Now here's what I hope to do for 2014, with lots of room for interpretation:

  1. Keep improving my fitness even more (specifically, my deadlifts, pull-ups, planks, and running)
  2. Run some type of race – whether it is a 10k or even a 5k! I’m not sure I could manage a half marathon..yet.
  3. Continue sticking with my clean eating, but this time with less stress eating - finals week I'm looking at you.
  4. Travel to Europe again and travel on my own.
  5. Take more risks without a fear of rejection - like applying for a totally out there internship or job without being held back by the fact that I feel under qualified.

I prefer not to call these "resolutions" because that decreases the chance of me actually doing them!  Stick around this year to see my goals accomplished? :)

Happy (late) New Years to everyone!