6 Random Things…

Spring Colors 

I’m starting to break out the spring inspired nail polishes again. Shade of aqua,  like breezy days relaxing at the beach. When it’s not aqua it’s coral. Speaking of, who’s seen the beautiful colors of the new OPI Brazil collection? I just got my order and am so smitten with the colors and formula.

…and on the Spring theme…

 

Spring Cleaning

I cleaned my entire house this weekend. Top to bottom, front door to attic (just kidding, I don’t go in the attic. Spiders live up there). You get the point. I made a list for each room on Friday night, and plowed through it starting on Saturday and finished the biggest problem areas, like the kitchen, on Sunday. Not the most exciting way to sped a weekend, but it feels amazing to have a clean house. I also took care of a few random house chores, like installing a Carbon Monoxide detector, swapping out a few door bumpers, and replacing a toilet seat (never thought I’d actually have to know how to do that…joys of being a homeowner).

The challenge now is to keep the place looking great all the time instead of having to do this type of cleaning again anytime soon. I put together a schedule to quick hit every room in the house twice a month to keep on top of things. I think I could do a quick 15-20 minute cleanup each day in the scheduled room, and keep on top of things. Quick cleanup would be dust, vacuum, pick up lose items, counters/toilets, fix any small issues.

How do you guys tackle cleaning, do you keep any type of schedule/plan? Or do you do Super Cleaning weekends every few months?

 

The Schedule:

(1st/16th) Foyer/Entry

(2nd/17th) Den/Workout Area

(3rd/18th) Downstairs Bathroom

(4th/19th) Yard/Porch

(5th/20th) Garage

(6th/21st) Dining Room

(7th/22nd) Powder Room

(8th/23rd) Living Room

(9th/24th) Kitchen

(10th/25th) Office

(11th/26th) Spare Bedroom

(12th/27th) Spare Bathroom

(13th/28th) Laundry

(14th/29th) Master Bedroom

(15th/30th) Master Bathroom/Closet

 

Anxiety/Stress

It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve experienced overwhelming anxiety, but much longer that I’ve been drowning in stress. Some days are worse than others, of course. I came across an article on Greatist.com this week and I really enjoyed it, 15 Ways to Beat Anxiety Now. If you deal with anxiety or high stress, you may enjoy this article as well.

 

Natural Beauty

In the past I’ve always been a fan of technologically advanced beauty, but more and more, I’ve transitioning to a more natural beauty regimen. I still use non-natural brands and products, but I strongly believe that when you know better you do better. So I’ve started to embrace brands like Shea Terra, and Stark Skincare.

 

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I’ve also started experimenting with making some at home beauty products. So far my favorite thing is washing my face with honey! Amazing results & easy to make, and customize, at home. I’ll probably do a separate post on this in the future.

 

Recent Reads

I finished the sometimes daughter by Sherri Wood Emmons last week. It’s the story of a girl born at Woodstock and her relationship with her mom and family as she grows into her teens. It’s a fairly simple story of watching a young girl grow up in the 60/70’s and experiencing her personal/family struggles. If you enjoy getting a glimpse into someone else’s family life (we’re all a little voyeuristic, right?), then you’ll probably like this.

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Puppy Love

I’ve been struggling a bit with my pup recently. He’s been having some mobility issues with his back leg. It always seems to be prompted by rough/wild playing, or a long day outdoors so I’m fairly certain it’s muscle strains. However, I think he is also developing some arthritis due to the extra weight he carries around. I’m having to adjust his food and add some supplements in hope of bringing him some natural relief without going to prescription pain killers. He’ll be seen by our vet in a few weeks for a checkup, fingers crossed, I’ve finally found the best nutrition plan for my little one. It’s so hard to see him struggle when I know he really wants to run through a dog park or splash at the dog beach. I hope we can get back to that soon.

If your pup has had similar issues, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 ABM_1394407761

 

Alright, I’m off to collapse onto the couch and relax after all that cleaning. I hope you all had a great weekend!

The Love List

With my little disappearance act from the blog recently, I never did a proper New Year post. Don’t worry, I’m not going to launch into a recap of 2013…no need. It can pretty much be summed up in 4 words…Work, Jury Duty, Vacation. That covers a majority of the yearly highlights, sadly nothing else too extraordinary. I struggled with massive amounts of anxiety & stress last year which was a challenge, but I’m working to turn all that around this year.

 

I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be a good one.

 

Instead of doing New Year’s Resolutions this year, or planning any major goals to overcome, I decided to go a different direction. I created a Love List.

One day, I was feeling particularly burned out and ‘blah’, so I grabbed some paper & pen, and scribble down 25 things that I love. They are very general, and I didn’t mean for it to be too specific. I wanted to create a list of things that I love, thing that brought me joy in life. I’ve posted the list below. You’ll notice that some are incredibly general. I did that purposely so that I could find all the bits of joy within that ‘love’ item.

For example… #23 is Travel. General, right? I could have clarified that I wanted to travel overseas or to a  specific country, and I do. But overall I simply love travelling. I can’t afford to do it often, but I love it. So it’s on the list. The goal will be to find ways to ‘travel’ in my area when I can’t afford to go far.

 

So what’s the point?

 

The point of creating this list was to help me see the beauty around me on the tough days. On those days that seem to break me down, I can grab this list, pick a number and do something I love. Maybe it will be to curl up with a good book, or hop in the car with my pup and go to the beach, or add something new to the garden…hell, sometimes it will simply to be sit down and listen to the sound of the rain (check out Rainymood.com. It’s just the sound of the rain, INCREDIBLE).

I should also say that this is not EVERYTHING that I love. This is the first 25 that popped into my head. I’m sure the list could go on and on…

 

These are in no particular order…

 

The Love List

 

  1. Beauty, Skincare, Makeup, Nails
  2. Baxter, Dogs & Animals, helping animals
  3. Instagram
  4. Photography, Black & White Photos, SLR Cameras
  5. Writing Stories
  6. Blogging
  7. Organization & Planning
  8. Home Decor & Interior Design
  9. DIY, Craft Projects, Building Things
  10. Healthy Living, Detox my Life (in all different ways)
  11. Cooking
  12. Bargain Shopping/Hunting
  13. Dancing
  14. Yoga
  15. The Beach
  16. Meditation & Self Hypnosis
  17. The Sound of the Rain
  18. Green Living, Learning to be Environmentally Conscious
  19. Growing my own food
  20. Reading
  21. Family & Friends
  22. Journaling,Creating Photo Look-books
  23. Travel
  24. Art, String Art, Painting
  25. Learning, Continuing Education, School

 

The Challenge is to pick several of these a week and make sure that I’m spending time doing things that I love. Sometimes with the ‘busy-ness’ that is life, it’s hard to find those happy moments. This is just one way that I’m trying to incorporate more HAPPY into my life this year.

 

What is on your Love List?

Beauty Talk #2

 

My favorite recent beauty tip involves a way to turn a steamy shower into a aromatherapy experience. It’s very simple, and completely customizable to your mood. 

For a spa like shower, mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Spritz into a steamy shower before you step in, and enjoy the aromatherapy. You can mix a variety of oils to create a scent you love. Citrus & Mint is great for an uplifting morning shower, Eucalyptus if you’re feeling sick, Lavender & Chamomile are excellent for relaxing in the evening. Maybe try a little Neroli or Rose before date night ;) Mix, Spritz, Enjoy!

I created a lovely mix of Peppermint and Vanilla recently. It’s an amazing pick me up in the morning.

 

 

In other beauty news lately…these are a few insta-posts from the last few weeks! You can read the specifics of each picture over at Instagram!

 

 

 

 

   

 

[Soaked] Cinnamon Almonds

I have the most delicious (and nutritious) treat to share with you today, and it’s ridiculously simple to make. I’m constantly on the look out for ways to make everyday foods/meals healthier, and I’m always excited to find quick & healthy snacks

Many already know that Almonds (in moderation) are an nutrient dense food that can greatly benefit a healthy diet. The contain protein, fiber, and omega fatty acids just to name a few of their many nutrition stats. However, something I learned from researching raw food diets, is that you really aren’t getting the most out of your almonds if you eat them dry. Soaking the almonds first (generally overnight) will make them easier to digest, thus allowing the body to better absorb all the nutrients.

The information below is from the Food Matters Website, and was included in an excellent article about The Benefits of Soaking Nuts and Seeds. Be sure to check it out if you want more information, it touches on more than just almonds.

 

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?

  • 1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
  • 2. To remove or reduce tannins.
  • 3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
  • 4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • 5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
  • 6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
  • 7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
  • 8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • 9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
  • 10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

 

In my opinion, Almonds are much, MUCH tastier this way as well. As an extra health bonus, I dusted them with ground cinnamon which has its own host of health benefits. Notice I said just ground cinnamon, not cinnamon sugar. You could also use raw cacao, a little chipotle, or another spice that you prefer.

Get Creative!

 

 Soaked Cinnamon Almonds_4

 

The visual difference between dry almonds (left) and soaked almonds (right). The soaked almonds will have a softer texture, but will still have a crunch to it. If you avoided almonds in the past because you disliked the ‘jaw breaking crunch’, give them another chance after soaking.

Soaked Cinnamon Almonds_1

The recipe is simple, and there are NO specific measurements needed. Just put a serving of raw (not roasted or seasoned) almonds in a sealable container. A plastic bag will work just fine, but I prefer to use something with a lid. Cover the almonds with water and place in fridge overnight (or for about 12 hours). In the morning, drain and rise the almonds. At this point they are ready to eat, or season them.

 Soaked Cinnamon Almonds_2

Add your spices. I added about 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to 1/2 Cup of almonds.

 Soaked Cinnamon Almonds_3

You can keep uneaten, soaked almonds in the fridge for about 24-48 hours before they will begin to mold. Since they don’t have a long shelf life, you should avoid making large batches unless you know they will be eaten right away. Unfortunately this isn’t something you can make on Sunday, and eat throughout the week.

For those that would like the health benefits of a soaked almond, but prefer the dry texture, you can dry them in a dehydrator for longer term storage.

Enjoy!

 Soaked Cinnamon Almonds_4

I’d love to know if any of you have tried this method, or if you try this recipe. What other seasonings have you used?

 

 

*I have purposely tried to not use the phrase, ‘soak your nuts’ in this post, because…well…I’d like to avoid the pervy Google Spam Bots. But let’s face it, that’s exactly what I want you to do from now on…soak your nuts people!

 

 

**I also apologize for the inconsistent lighting in the photographs. It’s driving me crazy too.

Beauty Talk #1

 

Having been gone from this blog for so long, has not only been upsetting for me (I miss this space!), but also a bit daunting. I’ve sat down multiple times to write a ‘I’m back’ post and I couldn’t figure out what to say. I’m sure that’s not an uncommon feeling for bloggers that have to take a break away from the web. Sometimes the words just don’t flow so well…

 

I don’t have any extraordinary reason as to why I stopped blogging lately. Life and work have been overwhelming (we’re going through layoffs again), and I honestly didn’t feel like I had anything interesting to share. I hadn’t completed many projects around the house and I wasn’t trying any new recipes. Life felt more than a little boring. So, instead of boring you with the mundane catch up…let’s just move on, shall we? In the past few weeks I’ve been getting back into home projects and I have a few fun crafts planned. I’ve redone the backyard grass planters which I’ll post about soon. That post will answer the multitude of questions that have been emailed to me about the project. I never knew so many of you would benefit from a ‘growing grass on concrete’ project, so hopefully that future post will answer some of your questions. Click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about. I’ve also made some progress on the office and made a few other tweaks around the house. More on that soon…

 

One fun thing I’ve done lately (blogging wise) is start up a new Instagram account. I’ve mentioned my love of beauty, makeup, skincare on the blog in the past. I’ve even done a few monthly favorite posts, but I wasn’t thrilled with those. Instead I’ve started up a dedicated beauty Instagram account where I can chat all things beauty, share my likes (and dislikes), etc. For anyone that wants to follow me, you can find me @evolovelybeauty. For the blog, I thought I’d share a recap from time to time along with any of my favorite posts/tips.

 

So today, is a little weekly beauty recap and a recipe!

 

My favorite post of the week was sharing how I start my day, detox style. Each morning I get up and make the drink below while the pup is eating. I drink this along with a probiotic capsule, then wait 30-60 minutes before eating. I started doing this in September and have seen a dramatic difference in my skin since doing so. I used to get hormonal cystic acne regularly and that has completely cleared up. I have not had a single cystic spot since drinking this at the start of my day. My skin is brighter, clearer, and overall I just feel better. My mom also drinks this and has seen a big difference as well.

I created this recipe using other detox drinks as a guide. You have probably heard of people drinking hot water with lemon, or taking a Ginger Bomb. This is essentially a combination of those drinks. It’s something that works for me.

 

Morning Detox Drink:

If you’re not used to drinking Apple Cider Vinegar, this can take some getting used to. Thanks to the other ingredients, it’s not overwhelmingly strong in this drink. You can alter the amount of water you use while you get used to the taste. Add more in the beginning if you need to, just be sure to drink the whole thing.

 

The Basics

1-2 Cups Water (I prefer hot, like for tea…but you can also drink this iced/cold if you prefer the taste that way)

1 Tablespoon Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Raw Organic Honey

Juice of 1/2 a fresh Lime (you can also use a lemon, I just prefer the lime)

Add all ingredients, stir and drink. I prefer to drink with a straw, and while I don’t chug it, I do drink it all rather quickly. It’s not something I like to sip on…you get the point.

 

Give it the best ability to absorb by not eating for 30-60 minutes after you finish the drink.

 

The Optional Additions:

After I had been drinking the above for about 2 months, I started adding the below. You may choose to skip these, or maybe you prefer to add them from the start. I’ll leave that to your discretion. Please note that with all the ingredients, do your own research (or talk to your doctor) to find out if these ingredients would be beneficial to you.

 

1/8 teaspoon of Ground Turmeric (I’m slowing adding more over time, it’s a strong taste)

1/8 teaspoon Ground Ginger (I’ll probably slowly up this amount over time as well)

The other 1/2 of fresh lime (so that you are juicing the entire lime into you drink each morning)

Mix well and drink.

IMG_20140128_095118

 

Like a lot of super healthy things, I don’t always jump out of bed excited to drink this. But more often than not, I crave it. I’ve seen such a dramatic difference in my health (and particularly my skin), that I don’t really want to give it up.

 

In other beauty news lately…these are a few insta-posts from the last week! You can read the specifics of each picture over at Instagram!

  

 

 

 

Vacation – Part II

In Part I of the vacation recap, I promised you beach photos. I had so many from the entire trip that I just pulled a few of my favorites into a single post. I took a morning walk nearly every day and a sunset walk many evenings. The beauty of Isle of Palms, SC left me speechless. In fact, I’ll let the photos do the talking and I’ll be back with Part III tomorrow to share our Savannah, GA adventure and a few other things.

 

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC