REST!

06/28/2015

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"You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest" (Exodus 34:21)

I don't know about you, but for me, starting a new job can be a little exhausting. (They don't call it "work" for nothing!) I love my new summer job and I'm excited to learn a lot and to do my best. I want those around me to know that I care and that I am thankful for the opportunity to serve them. But I also enjoy the chance to sit back for a few minutes and just RELAX!

This Bible verse reminds us that ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, God has planned for us to WORK. But He also understands our need for REST. God knows what we can handle even better than we do and He is pleased when we use our gifts and abilities on the job.

I am definitely thankful for the hours I can work each day and the chance to earn a paycheck. I am also thankful for the opportunities to relax. I haven't written too many posts lately, but I want you to know that I will try my best over the course of the summer. In the meantime, today is Sunday, the Lord's Day, and I wanted to wish you all a Happy Day. I also want to remind you to take a little break today. Take a walk, take a nap, call a friend, or hug your dog. Spend some time in prayer or reading quietly on your own. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of that wonderful thing called 'rest.'

How about you? Don't you just LOVE a little break?

 
 
I LOVE sweets! I eat dark chocolate EVERY single day and I NEVER turn down a delicious piece of fresh fruit (especially summertime fruit!) A love of sweets seems to run in my family and every holiday get-together seems to include its fair share of tasty treats! I've had a sweet tooth ever since I was little, but here's the funny thing: I really believe that a healthy diet is all about balance. I really believe that daily desserts actually aid in weight loss.

The way I lost my weight (and keep it off) is through balance and moderation. I've learned to eat healthy all day everyday so that I can enjoy my favorite treats without feeling guilty. That being said, I'm smart about my sugar consumption! Sure, I eat dark chocolate, but I never add sugar to my coffee or much to my oatmeal. I stay away from processed foods and I rarely eat any of those so called 'healthy' protein bars. We all need to cut down on sugar, but allowing 'a small treat' prevents that feeling of desperation and frustration.


Here are my top tips to have your cake and eat it too!
1. COMMIT to the idea of balancing your sugar intake- If you seriously want to eat a balanced amount of sugar, you need to be committed!! Write a list of all the benefits you'll receive from eating less of the sweet stuff... and try to think beyond pants size. My fave benefits? Clear skin, increased energy and reduced cravings!
2. Eat Whole Foods as often as possible- Whole foods are nourishing and delicious! People tend to think that in order to lose weight they need to drastically reduce there calorie consumption... when in actuality, eating too little actually promotes sugar/ junk food cravings. My advice to reduce sugar intake and drop pounds? Eat healthy, balanced meals with REAL foods like fresh fruits, nourishing veggies, satiating protein and energizing carbohydrates!
3. Enjoy Fresh Fruit- One of my favorite ways to satisfy my sweet tooth is with fresh fruit! I'm obsessed with it! Just the other day I finished a long work shift around 4:30pm. Exhausted, starving and craving something sweet, I drove to the local market bought a cantaloupe for $2.99. I rushed back to my car like a crazy person, cut my cantaloupe in half with a steak knife that I brought from the kitchen, and I devoured a WHOLE half of the juicy delight. Sticky and satisfied, I drove home with a happy tummy and a smile on my face!
4. Allow Daily Treats- I satisfy my sweet tooth with little desserts such as dairy free ice cream, gluten free cookies or dark chocolate. Eating a small treat every day gives me something to look forward to and ensures that I never feel deprived! Gotta love a balanced diet! 

How about you?! What's your key to living the sweet life?

 
 
"When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat" -Mark Twain

You may have heard that watermelon is really nothing more than water and sugar... but you'd be wrong!  Watermelon, albeit 92% water, is actually packed with nutrients.  One cup of this popular summer juicy fruit has only 43 calories. It's naturally fat free, and contains 21% of your daily vitamin C needs and 17% of your vitamin A needs.  

Whether you chop it up on a fresh 'watermelon-feta' salad, blend it into a thirst-quenching smoothie, or eat it 'straight-up' with sticky fingers and juice dripping down your chin, watermelon makes the perfect addition to any summertime meal or snack.  Watermelon actually helps to lower your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease naturally. This is because of its low calorie content and high nutrient/high fiber content ...and let's be real, a cup of watermelon is wayyyy more satisfying than half a processed '100 calorie pack' ANY day.

Watermelon is believed to lower blood pressure due to its high potassium content. The high vitamin C helps to prevent asthma.  The antioxidants that give watermelon its beautiful pink color help to help prevent cancer by fighting free radicals in the body. The choline content even helps to reduce inflammation. 

The fiber content of this lovely fruit helps with 'regularity' (if you know what I mean) and its high water content and naturally occurring electrolytes make it the perfect hydrating snack for any beach day. So, summer is here and NOW is the perfect time to grab yourself a huge delicious watermelon. Give your arms a workout just carrying it out to the car! Slice it up, grab a roll of paper towel, and savor the flavors of summer WHILE nourishing your body from the inside out!

How about you?! Are you a watermelon fan?  What is your favorite way to enjoy it?
 
 
Maybe your favorite jean shorts from last summer are just too tight... the zipper won't even zip. Maybe you just spent another afternoon trying on bathing suits and you're leaving the store empty-handed and disappointed... again. Maybe you feel sluggish and tired all the time and you have a sneaking suspicion that it has something to do with all those filling lunches you've been enjoying or the mid morning snacks that seemed so harmless at the time. Maybe it's time to make a change.

Living a balanced lifestyle is a choice. You can either eat whatever you want and face the consequences ... or eat what makes you look and feel better and then enjoy the results! Starting a new healthy lifestyle can be challenging and overwhelming. The thought of eating healthy meals, avoiding processed junk food and limiting your sugar intake can be a daunting dilemma. Today for Monday's Motivation, I want to share with you my Top 5 Tips for starting a healthy lifestyle that is maintainable, realistic, and yes, enjoyable! 

1. Portion Control- The key to a healthy lifestyle is BALANCE and MODERATION. Don't eat too much, but don't eat too little. Eat a variety of types and amounts and try not to eat out of boredom or anxiety. Plan ahead and use smaller plates and bowls. My mom and I actually like to eat certain foods with those cute little baby spoons. You can't fit much on your spoonful, so it takes longer and feels more satisfying to finish a small portion.
2. Tasty Treats- Anyone who knows me would say that I make healthy choices with all my meals. But they'd also tell you that I guiltlessly indulge in small sweets everyday. I treat myself daily with some sort of chocolate, be it salted dark chocolate, dairy free coconut chocolate ice cream, or the occasional slice of gluten free, dairy free chocolate cake (which was very hard to find, by the way!) Decide what your favorite special treat would be and then ... ENJOY it!
3. Activity Awareness- My FitBit is my go-to for keeping active! Simply going for an after dinner walk will result in many health benefits including: increased energy, potential weight loss, improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and reduced risk of osteoporosis and heart disease. And here's my current favorite: it clears your mind and makes you more focused and productive.
4. Realistic Restaurant choices- I confess, I've been eating out at restaurants lately. I love trying new places! I do not like chain restaurants, but I find it hard to resist a cute little local cafe. Calories can add up quickly at restaurants. I like to order my meals a-la-carte! My fave tip? Get a salad with your dressing and toppings on the side so YOU decide how much to eat! 
5. Baby Steps- When all else fails, remember that tomorrow is a new day! If you eat too much one day, or if you hardly move off the couch, remember that a healthy lifestyle is a balanced one! Simply cut back your food intake, increase your water consumption, get up and move. Realize that it's all about 'progress' not 'perfection' and you'll be feeling better in no time!

What are your favorite tips for starting (and maintaining) a healthy lifestyle?!

 
 
Snack time is the best time! It's the time between meals when your tummy is a little rumbly and you need something small to tide you over until your next meal, something nourishing, satisfying, but still tasty! When I snack I prefer to keep it little, somewhere between 100-200 calories... not too big, not too small! 

Cue 'Gourmet-on-the-go'! 'Gourmet-on-the-go' offers delicious packs of nourishing trail mixes for even the busiest 'girl-on-the-run'! Bursting with bright, crunchy treats, these trail mixes are amazing! Gluten free, vegan, cholesterol and trans fat free, these snacks are perf for on-the-go munching!  

Dried cranberries, pineapple, papaya, mango, raisins and apricots are a sweet, chewy, delicious alternative to overly sweet candy. Cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, peanuts and walnuts add healthy fat and hearty plants-based protein to these sweet mixes.  Trail mix is the perfect combo of salty, sweet, savory and sustainable energy.  Say goodbye to the 3pm slump with a handful of these mixes!

Checkout http://www.gourmetnut.com/ for more of their delicious, healthy, nourishing products that you're sure to love!! From chia seeds to gourmet sea salt this company has everything for your health needs!! 

How about you?! Do you like to snack on trail mix?! What's your favorite on-the-go snack?!
 
 
"Being happy never goes out of style."   -Lily Pulitzer

What have YOU done for fun lately? Today's 'sweet nothings' post is all about some of the happy things that are going on with me lately. Life is never perfect, but it's always better to focus on the good times, the blessings, and the many things we have to be thankful for.


My bestie from college came down to visit me last week and we had SUCH a blast! We hung out with church friends, went out for dinners, chilled at coffee shops, tried on TONS of clothes, and relaxed on the beach!
Morgan is one of my closest friends. She's godly, genuine, funny and so inspiring! She's all about health and balance, just like me, and we never make it through a complete conversation without laughing! I was thrilled when I got to spend all week with her and show her around my hometown!
Another sweet nothing?! Late morning brunch after staying up too late the night before. Morgan and I tried perfecting our banana-egg pancakes! (Sometimes they turn into banana mush. Perfecting the banana to egg ratio takes quite a bit of practice!)
Whole Foods!! I could literally drive there in my sleep! I've probably actually dreamt about this gourmet supermarket destination before! I go to Whole Foods all the time! It's the perfect place to browse with health-food lovers ...and just relax over a delicious nutritious meal with friends! 
Flapper Cailee! Yep, that's me! Last weekend I went to a Great Gatsby themed surprise birthday party for a friend. I found my dress at Salvation Army, my gloves at a church rummage sale, and the vintage headband at a party store. I only wish I could dress like this everyday! So much fun! 

What about you?! What are some "sweet nothings" that have made YOU smile lately?!
 
 
Keep calm and thrift on... 

I just LOVE thrift shopping! I mean, who doesn't love a good deal?? I go to thrift stores regularly and I always find the coolest (and cheapest) stuff. I do Savers, Salvation Army, and a couple smaller local shops in the city. There are always clothes that I would never buy, but I love it when I find the really cute stuff.  I love it when my friends compliment my clothes. I say "Thank you" and then I spend the next few minutes trying to convince them the whole outfit was from a thrift store! One of my friends actually owns a vintage resale shop, so sometimes I just 'chill' there and wait for the new arrivals! It's a very relaxing environment! 

Here are three of my most recent thrifty finds. Hopefully, I can inspire YOU to go out and save a pretty penny!
I picked up this Lauren Conrad shirt for $4.99, the black zippered leggings for $1, and these cute little booties for only $3.50!! The whole outfit cost less than 10 bucks! YES, please! 
Even my dog loves a bargain! In fact, she WAS one! We rescued our little husky mix from a shelter almost 14 years ago and she's been one of the best deals we've ever found!

How about you?! Are you a 'thrifty shopper'?!
 
 
"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" -Philippians 2:4

Helping others is good for them AND for you!

It's easy to get busy, stressed, and overwhelmed with everything you need to do today... work deadlines, household chores, shopping lists, paperwork, appointments, emails and assignments! HOW are you going to get everything done- combine all the have-to's with the want-to's and you begin to wonder... How does anybody do it?
Here are just a few of my favorite ways to help others, even when you're super busy yourself:

1. Make someone's day- You may never know how much someone needs an encouraging word, a bit of advice, or a helping hand. Take the time to listen and BE the friend that person needs!

2. Show someone you care-  A discouraged person may really need to know that someone cares. You never know what difficulties someone else is working through. YOU could make the difference in that person's day. 

3. Pay it forward- Doing something nice for someone often encourages them to do something nice for someone else. Start that chain of kindness and watch it grow!

4. Gain new skills-  Maybe you think that you don't have anything to offer... your set of skills just doesn't match what that person needs. Well, don't be silly. Consider helping anyway and learn something new. You just may surprise yourself!

5. Do unto others- 'The Golden Rule' is always a good one to follow. You know how wonderful it is when you get the support and encouragement YOU need. Well, BE that friend!

6. Realize how very blessed you are- Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by our own 'list of burdens' that we forget to 'count our blessings!' Helping others with their responsibilities helps us to see beyond our own.

7. Helping makes YOU feel better- studies show that volunteering actually helps you feel more connected to others and helps you build social skills. It really is a gift you give to others AND to yourself.

So...did you help someone today? Did someone else help you? Doesn't it feel good?
 
 
I love almonds! I guess you could say I'm nuts about them! 

Besides being portable, delicious, and fun to eat, almonds are a 'nutrition powerhouse!' Loaded with health benefits, these little babies can't be beat when it comes to nourishing noshing! Almonds help to reduce the risk of heart disease, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce food cravings. People often think of almonds as high in fat, but that fat may actually help lower the amount of calories that your body absorbs! (Yes, please!)
Almonds are loaded with filling fiber that promotes healthy digestion. They are low in carbs, but high in healthy fats, protein and fiber which make them the perfect choice for diabetics and everyone else!

Raw almonds are naturally free of cholesterol and salt. They're loaded with calcium, plants-based protein and vitamin E. The vitamin E protects your skin's collagen which helps us look younger longer!

A whopping 23 almonds only have around 160 filling calories, so a small handful of almonds can 'fill ya up' with out filling out your jeans! Considering how many vitamins and minerals are found naturally in these little nuts, why wouldn't everyone enjoy these treats on their journey towards an all-around healthier lifestyle! 

Here's a little warning from my mum: She worries about the 'crunch factor'. They can be very hard, so take care when biting down, that you don't crack a tooth! (YOU know how mothers can be!)

I drink almond milk daily, toss sliced almonds on my salad, stir raw almond butter into my oatmeal and smear it on my gluten free crackers. I use almond flour for baking, munch on dry roasted almonds for a snack, and enjoy almonds dipped in dark chocolate for a delicious, delightful, decadent dessert. 

What about you? Are you 'nuts' about almonds like me??  What are your favorite ways to enjoy them?
 
 
"I'm so unfamiliar with the gym, I call it James" -Ellen DeGeneres

If you know me, you know I'm NOT a big fan of the gym, but I do LOVE keeping fit, and I know how important it is for your mind, body, soul and spirit! So, here are my Tip-top-tips to being active... so easy-- even your mother could do it! (no offense mum, you know how much I love ya!)

1. Commercial calorie-burn:
Instead of taking calories IN, every time a commercial shows up during your favorite TV show, get up and jog in place! Suddenly, watching television isn't a TOTAL waste of time!

2. Park Far:
Every trip to the grocery store can be a chance to get fit. Unless it's raining or really dark, try and park your car as far away from the entrance as possible. If the sun is shining, there's NO excuse! Enjoy the brisk walk to the door and in the store.

3. Stair Master:
ALWAYS take the stairs! Unless you're running late for class, for a doctor's appointment or an interview, take the stairs. And if you're sitting at home with nothing to do, then get up and do some laps in your own house!

4. Stretch it out:
Before you get out of bed in the morning and before you climb back in at night...stretch! It gets your blood flowing, relaxes your mind, builds flexibility, and improves your posture!

5. Keep it Crunchy:

Drop down and give me 20! (crunches that is!) Get on the floor- but don't stay there!! Crunching up your core is a great way to strengthen your core,prevent back pain, and promote healthy posture!

Being active doesn't have to be torture! Keeping fit is all about finding balance and doing what works for you!