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

Vacation – Part I

Hello All!

I’m finally done with Jury Duty (YAY!) and I recently went on vacation (DOUBLE YAY!), so I’m just now getting back into blogging again. I completely underestimated jury duty, and wasn’t able to blog as much as I was hoping (or at all!). Then I went back to work for a few weeks before taking 2 weeks off for vacation. Things have been a little crazy, the vacation was so needed…and completely incredible. I’ll be doing recaps this week, part I is below so as not to completely overwhelm you in one blog post. Warning: these will be picture heavy posts.

 

Note: I’m still trying to catch up on emails and blog comments…please forgive me if I haven’t gotten back to you yet. I will be responding, it’s just taking me some time to work through them all. Sorry. 

 

First off…I received a bunch of questions from people asking about jury duty. Questions ranged from how jury duty works in California, what case was I on, why was it taking 3 months, do I get paid…and so on. I’ll try to briefly answer a few of these below.

I get a jury duty summons almost every year…they can call you once every 12 months and they get me every year (lucky me). The general rule is one day or one trial. Every other time I’ve been called, I’ve been done in just one day. This was the first time I had ever been seated on a jury trial. I’m not going to give out the defendant’s name, so you won’t be able to Google the case (sorry), but I will say that it was a Death Penalty Murder trial. I couldn’t share that before, so you can probably understand why it was so long. In fact, it took them a whole month to fully seat the jury, then it took another 2 months to complete the guilt and penalty trials. We found the defendant guilty on all counts, and sentenced him to Life without the possibility of parole. The entire experience was exhausting and emotionally draining since I was hearing and seeing things that I never wanted to see/hear. However, the penalty deliberations were by far the worst. Obviously when you’re talking about the death penalty it’s going to get personal as your dealing with people’s morals/values. I expected that; however, there were some jurors that just took it too far. They got very personal and lashed out at others. During the course of deliberations, many of us felt personally attacked and it was particularly draining for me since I hate confrontation. I’ll just say it was rough.

Given all of that, while I would prefer to not do another capitol case, I would gladly be part of a trial again. Not only was the process fascinating at times, it truly did feel like an honor to be part of the process.

Oh…regarding pay. The court pays $15 a day and some mileage; however, I’m VERY lucky that my company pays unlimited time off for jury duty, so I was paid my regularly salary while I was out.

 

Ok…moving on to a far more relaxing time…VACATION! My brother turns 40 this year so the family got together for a week to celebrate and spend some time together. We have a small family, but we don’t see each other often…so this also acted as a mini family reunion.

 

So near the end of October I hopped on a plane, along with my parents, for my first trip to the South! We flew from San Diego to North Carolina, then drove to South Carolina where we spent a week in Isle of Palms. It was heaven!

SAN to CLT - Among the Clouds

Side note: Starbucks treats are required while travelling. Have you tried the Chocolate Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks…amazing!! My usual Starbucks drink is a Cafe Mocha with 2 pumps Chai, but the tea version was really good. I hope it lasts longer than one season.

After I let this cup sit on the counter for a really long time, the Barista said this was mine…but, who the hell is Timmie??? I’m used to my name being misspelled, but this is the worst so far…funny, but not even close.

Who the hell is Timmie?

After spending a night in Charlotte, NC, we started our drive to Isle of Palms. We stopped in Columbia, SC on the way and toured the State House.

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

 

Columbia, SC - State House

I loved the architecture of this building.

Columbia, SC - State House

Columbia, SC - State House

…and saw beautiful churches along the way.

Columbia, SC

We also drove down to the Canal and walked around. It had the most beautiful running/walking trail for locals.

Columbia, SC Canal

Columbia, SC Canal

Then we arrived at the beach…cue the sound of angels singing!  The ocean is by far my happiest place.

This was the house we stayed at during our week in town. Beautiful…with a freakin’ elevator! This was the first time staying at a rented house as opposed to a hotel and I would go this route again in a heart beat (if only they all looked like this). For the large group we had, it was perfect, and everyone had their own space. I mean I love my family…but WE ALL need our own space from time to time, am I right?

[yes, I am]

Isle of Palms, SC

View from deck…but we’ll get back to the beach shots in the next post.

Isle of Palms_25

On our first full day, we did a culinary tour in downtown Charleston, SC and would highly recommend it. The guide took us to 3 restaurants around town where we ate a ton of delicious food, and gave us a tour of the area during our walk in between eats.

The Southend Brewery was my favorite and our first stop.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

I had my first taste of Shrimp & Grits which was delicious, and fried green tomatoes (which I sadly did not photograph).

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

This vegetable risotto was incredible, I need to recreate this ASAP!

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

The whole experience was unique and much more than I ever expected. The chef’s did an amazing job catering to us, and the presentations were deliciously beautiful. 

Seared Tuna with Lemon Pepper Beignets & lime ‘caviar’. Not my favorite dish since I don’t like tuna, but I still tried everything.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

We even cooked out own steaks on a 700 degree hot rock. Delicious and fun.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Not gonna lie…this was the best ending. Carrot Cake Donuts!

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

A few more shots of our tour around town.

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

Charleston, SC Culinary Tour

I’ll be back tomorrow with Part II…prepare for a barrage of beach photos.

Words of Wisdom – Tips on Staying Inspired

I’ve been really sick lately (pardon my disappearance), and I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing. Although, I did get the office repainted before this cold kicked my ass to the couch. Luckily I’m FINALLY starting to feel like me again (thank goodness!) so I’ll be back with posts soon. In the meantime I found this infographic of tips to stay inspired. Since I’ve been out of court and back at work for the week, I’ve particularly liked the ‘Plan Your Day’ section.

 

Stay Inspired!

Via

New Fruity Terrariums

That project I tried to do a few weeks ago is finally DONE, and I LOVE IT!

Actually, I’ve been wanting to do this project for about a year since I’ve had these pretty containers sitting empty for about that long. If you recall I had a little bird mishap a few weeks back, but I finally got around to cleaning the containers and buying new succulents.

I picked these up at Homegoods but I wasn’t sure at the time what I wanted to do with them. After the success of my DIY Succulent Terrariums, I figured these would work the same way. The novelty of a giant pear and apple in my house was just too perfect, I couldn’t help but buy these.

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

These suckers were tough to clean though, they are somewhat heavy glass and have only the one open spot (just big enough for one hand), so it was a struggle. They look much cleaner in person, but the camera picked up lots of lint.

If you want step by step instructions, check out the DIY Terrarium link above…I followed the same steps. I started out with some small rocks. I think these actually came from Hobby Lobby for less than $3, and it was enough for both planters.

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

Next, I topped with Cactus Soil. It allows for better drainage than potting soil.

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

Then add in small succulents. I picked mine up from Lowes, but their selection was lacking so I didn’t have much variety in these. I plan on swapping out the plants for more colorful options when they get more in stock.

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

Apple & Pear Succulent Terrariums

I never used to be a cactus/succulent fan, but they’ve seriously grown on me. I love having these little setups all over the house. They are simple, but so beautiful and require little work for them to live.