Subscriptions + Memberships

There's a few companies that I have invested into via subscriptions and memberships; these are just little things that make my life 1. a little more fun 2. more streamlined. Without further ado, below are my favorite subscriptions and memberships that I'm a part of! 

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1. Costco!
This membership saves us SO much money due to their significant savings on bulk items. We switched from Sam's Club to Costco for two reasons: 1. closer in proximity to us, and 2. more organic options. The above photo is when my mentor friend, Jayme, and I, did a Costco run after hot yoga one morning last summer! 

Andy and I typically make a Costco run either every weekend or every other weekend, depending on what we need. I'll do another post on all of our favorite Costco staples, but here's a quick rundown of what we typically purchase each week:

  • Organic Eggs
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Chicken Breasts 
  • Citrus Fruits -- usually oranges or grapefruits
  • Fresh Veggies -- I switch it up, but it usually consists of broccoli, brussels sprouts, or peppers
  • LaCroix Sparkling Water

2. Calm Guided Meditation App!
I love this app so much -- it helps me start my day with more focus, fall asleep faster, and have a peaceful day at work. There are tons of different guided meditations to choose from and they literally have one for every situation you can think of. I used to think meditation was a little kooky, but after giving it a shot, I'm a believer!

Last summer, I was really good at committing to a twice daily practice, but lately it's been a little more stretched out. I'm planning to get back into my groove come April 1st--because I need to start goals on the first of a month otherwise they usually don't stick. 

3. Rocksbox! 
I randomly came across an Instagram post about Rocksbox almost a year and a half ago and was immediately intrigued. Since one of my goals on my vision board was to define my sense of personal style, I felt as though a Rocksbox subscription was the perfect way to test out different styles of jewelry. I signed up that evening and haven't looked back since! I'll do a separate post on how this subscription works, but in the meantime, if you'd like to try it out for one free month, use code: LAURABFF708 at checkout! 

4. Life Time Athletic! 
I've been a member of Life Time for many, many years and to me, it's honestly worth the investment. I may be a bit biased since I also work there, but I love the level of quality, cleanliness, and the resort-like atmosphere at all of their many locations. Life Time isn't just my gym, it's also where I get my hair done, pedicures, massages, personal training, and purchase all of my supplements from! I started out with a Platinum membership many years ago, but was upgraded to LT Athletic when my club was remodeled inside -- LT Athletic clubs are even more elite than the LT Fitness clubs and they're less busy, so it's definitely a win-win situation.

5. Apple Music! 
I used to be a huge Spotify fan, until a friend of mine signed up for Apple Music and convinced me how much better it is! I dropped my Spotify subsciption last summer and haven't looked back since! I love how my work laptop, home laptop, Apple TV, and iPhone are all connected seamlessly with my playlists! 

6. Young Living Essential Oils!
I fought this trend for the longest time, but eventually a few of my coworkers convinced me to jump on the bandwagon. I purchased the starter kit as well as a USB diffuser to use while at my desk in the office. Diffusing oils such as Lavender before bed, Stress Away during the work day, and Lemon while cleaning have definitely made a difference for me! 

7. Starbucks Gold Card!
I've been a Starbucks gold card holder for many years now because my Starbucks obsession is real! I remember one of the very first times that I visited a Starbucks coffee shop. My family and I met up with my auntie Mary for dinner and afterwards, we all went to Starbucks so that the adults could get coffees. I was probably 9 or 10 years old at the time, but I remember that my Aunt purchased a little tin of Starbucks mints for both my sister and I. As time went on, I remember going to Starbucks with my mom for Frappuccino's, and then as I got older, I branched out and started straying from the sugar-loaded drinks and usually stuck to a cafe latte or an iced Tazo Passion tea instead. 

My bestie, Allie, also shares an infatuation for Starbucks, so every time she's back in town, we head to Starbucks for drinks! It's our little tradition, and we've shared so many silly stories, heart to hearts, and countless memories at local Starbucks shops! 

Birthday Weekend Celebrations

This past Tuesday was my birthday, and I swear it snuck up so quickly! Since my birthday fell on a weekday this year, we celebrated last weekend! We kicked off the weekend by heading down to one of our favorite areas, 50th & France. Edina is one of our favorite cities and we frequent this area because of the amazing restaurants (some of my favorites include Red Cow, Good Earth, and MozzaMia--which unfortunately just closed!), the Galleria (an upscale shopping center), and the gorgeous Centennial Lakes area! 

We grabbed dinner at AgraCulture, which was recommended to us by a friend of mine at work. We loved the unique atmosphere and the farm fresh food! Afterwards, we headed to Southdale Center, the local mall, to see Beauty and the Beast. We loved this movie so much--the additions to the classic story, the revised soundtrack, and the beautiful scenes! It was so well done and I've enjoyed listening to the soundtrack all week while I'm designing at work! 

Flash forward to Sunday when I pretended it was spring by wearing one of my very favorite outfits. I later paired this ensemble with my navy J. Crew Excursion vest because it was a little chilly outside! 

Our first stop of the day was Yum! Kitchen and Bakery for a quick lunch! Side note, my favorite foods are salad, soup, and sandwiches (dessert is its own category), so I always love visiting cute little cafes! I ordered the veggie sandwich and it hit the spot! 

After lunch, we made a quick pit-stop at Starbucks for lattes and then headed out to explore some Parade of Homes! Side note, how cute are these spring cups at Starbucks?! 

Can we just talk about my #closetgoals for a second here? I mean, look at this closet! A huge window next to front an back mirrors, ample shelves and drawers, and plenty of open space! 

All of the homes were so gorgeous inside! Whenever I tour homes, I'm always checking out three things: 1. the kitchen, 2. the staircase (I'm obessed with grand staircases) and 3. the home office.

We drove all over Edina and Minneapolis touring all kinds of homes from modern to contemporary before making a quick stop for a snack.

This vanilla birthday cake cupcake's frosting to cake ratio was spot on! Also, sprinkles make everything taste better, wouldn't you agree? 

After our cupcakes, we headed over to a neighboring town to tour a few more homes before ending our day in downtown Wayzata.

We walked along the main street and checked out a few little shops--the sun had returned by this point in the day so it felt really good to be outside! Cute little promenade areas are my absolute favorite! 

We enjoyed dinner at District in downtown Wayzata and it did not disappoint! Such a fun atmosphere and the food was really good! We'll definitely be returning to this cute little restaurant this summer! 

After dinner, we walked along the lake before heading home--the sun was starting to set and it was such a pretty view! 

On my actual birthday, I worked from home and later finished up my day working from Starbucks just to switch things up a bit. Their birthday cake pop makes me so happy--even when it's not my birthday! Afterwards, I met up with a couple girlfriends for happy hour before going out for frozen yogurt with Andy! 

When's your birthday?
Have you seen the new Beauty and the Beast movie?

Spring Break in AZ: Day 6

Our final day in Arizona began at the Scottsdale Fashion Square! We had visited this area a few nights earlier when we went to Olive & Ivy for dinner and we wanted to check in out during the daytime! 

We arrived in the area mid-morning and walked along the promenade for a bit once the shops opened up. It was a beautiful and sunny day and it felt so good to soak up our last day of the fantastic weather in AZ! 

After walking around outside, we headed into the Scottsdale Fashion Mall to do some browsing. We loved walking through this mall because it reminded a us a lot of the Galleria back home! This mall was filled with lots of high-end stores such as Burberry, GUCCI, etc. and it was so fun to browse around! All of the natural light within the mall reminded me a lot of my trips to the Ala Moana Center while visiting my best friend, Allie! 

After our trip through the mall, we headed back to Modern Market for lunch since we loved it so much when we were there the other day! 

I ordered the same sandwich as last time because it was so, so good! Fresh mozzarella, arugula, tomato, and blueberry preserves on ciabatta! The blueberry preserves seriously MADE this sandwich! I definitely want to take a stab at recreating this at home!

After lunch, we walked down to the other end of the promenade and relaxed by the canal for a bit before heading to another park to hang out in the sun for a bit before returning our rental car.

It was just so crazy how it was low 80s and sunny in Scottsdale, and a chilly 28* in Minneapolis on this particular day! We've already started talking about how a warm weather getaway needs to occur each winter! 

After a couple hours in the sun, we dropped off our rental car and headed to the airport! We grabbed a quick dinner near our gate before boarding our evening flight to Minneapolis. We had such a great vacation and are already looking forward to heading back to AZ sometime for a trip to visit The Grand Canyon! 

Spring Break in AZ: Day 5

Our last full day in Arizona started out bright and early as we set out on a mini roadtrip to Sedona! It was so pretty up in Sedona--blue skies and red rocks all around.

It took us around two hours to make the trek from our hotel in Phoenix all the way to Sedona, but it was well worth the drive! 

Our first stop was at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a beautiful church built right into the rocks of Sedona. Andy especially enjoyed this tourist spot due to its influence by Frank Lloyd Wright. Afterwards, we headed up to Cathedral Rock, which was just a few minutes away. We started climbing up Cathedral Rock, but when we realized it was a very similar hike to Camelback Mountain, which we had hiked just a few days before, we decided to take the alternative route around the mountain. One rock climb was enough for us for one week! 

Sedona was a little chillier than Phoenix, but a light jacket layered over my Nike fleece did the trick! Our hike around Cathedral Rock was filled with beautiful views and a variety of terrains such as hikes along a stream, rocky portions, and field-like areas.

Our hike out and back took about two hours--we were starving by the time were were done! We headed into downtown Sedona to grab a bite to eat before spending the rest of the afternoon exploring the area.

Andy suggested an organic cafe off the main street and it did not disappoint! Once we were fueled up and ready to go, we headed out to Doe Mountain, a hike that my coworker, Greta, had recommended to me.

We quickly climbed Doe Mountain, which was a relatively easy hike except for a few rocky areas, in anticipation of arriving at the top. My friend, Greta, said that you could hike around the top and experience 360* views of Sedona, and we were anxious to check it out! 

The views on the way up were so pretty--we especially loved being able to see the snow-capped mountains off in the distance since Sedona is further north than where we had traveled earlier in the week.

We enjoyed exploring the the top of the mountain and checking out the views from each side--such a unique experience! 

It was breathtaking up there! 

We quickly hiked down the mountain so that we could squeeze in one last hike before sunset! We headed across the road to hike Bear Mountain--a more challenging hike that we were more than ready for.

Our hike up Bear Mountain was during my favorite time of day--the golden hour just before the sun sets! 

The hike was a bit rockier than Doe Mountain, but much easier than Camelback! We enjoyed the challenged as we headed up higher and higher.

We started heading back once dusk hit--for we didn't want to be hiking down in the pitch black night! We both agreed that this hike was one of our favorites--maybe because we knew it would be our last hike of the trip before we headed back to cold and snowy Minneapolis the next evening! 

Spring Break in AZ: Day 4

We woke up early on Tuesday morning ready to hike and spend the day outside after the day before's rainstorm.

We grabbed donuts on the way to hike Pinnacle Peak and just before we got to the trail head, a quick thunderstorm blew through.

We waited it out by making a quick Target run for more snacks and then ended up swinging by a local restaurant for a quick lunch before take two of the hike. In less than an hour, the sun was shining again so we headed out! 

Pinnacle Peak was well worth the wait--it felt like such as "easy" hike after Sunday's crazy climb up Camelback Mountain!

The weather was absolutely perfect--blue skies, puffy clouds, and plenty of sunshine.

Pinnacle Peak overlooked a beautiful golf course and neighborhood with the mountains in the background--the views were so beautiful! 

After Pinnacle Peak, we headed to Cave Creek Regional Park for a sunset hike around the mountain. 

The views along this hike were so pretty--especially with the setting sun leaving a golden cast on all of the scenery. We got back to our car just as the sun went down--talk about perfect timing! 

We grabbed dinner at a local pizza restaurant on the way back to the hotel and it was located in the cutest little neighborhood! One of our favorite parts of our vacation was exploring new cities and trying out new (to us!) restaurants! 

Spring Break in AZ: Day 3

Our third day in Arizona started out a little overcast with an afternoon rainstorm on the radar. Due to this, we decided to spend our morning outside at the Desert Botanical Gardens and then head down to Chandler, AZ for the afternoon.

We both enjoyed browsing through the different gardens to check out all of the unique desert plants--there was even a butterfly garden as well! 

The Desert Botanical Gardens reminded me a lot of the landscape arboretum in Minnesota--except with a desert twist! 

After we finished up at the gardens, we headed to Cafe Rio for lunch! Cafe Rio is a lot like Chipotle but with more options--we both really enjoyed it! 

After our late lunch, we headed down to Chandler to browse the Chandler Fashion Center for awhile to avoid the rainstorm. After the mall, we grabbed a quick bite to eat along with another trip to Yogurtland before heading back to the hotel to relax and watch a movie.

Spring Break in AZ: Day 2

Waking up to our second day in Arizona felt so good--probably because it didn't involve a 2:45am wakeup call in order to get to the airport on time! 

We started our morning by heading out to Camelback Mountain, a hike that my mentor, Jayme, had recommended to us! 

It was such a beautiful day and we were itching to get out and hike in the sunshine! 

Little did we know that this "hike" wasn't really more of a rock climb. The terrain was like this the entire way up--some areas even had metal railings to hold onto since it was so incredibly steep! 

I always thought that the Koko Head hike in Oahu was the most challenging hike I've ever done, but Camelback Mountain definitely took the cake on that! 

We persevered and eventually made it up to the top! The 360* views were so pretty! 

Andy and I joked that we thought that the climb up was hard, but it was actually the hike down that proved to be the most difficult! It was definitely a full-body workout that required a lot of upper body strength! 

After the hike, we grabbed some lunch at Modern Market, a new restaurant in Scottsdale, before picking up some froyo and heading out to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio! 

We made it in the nick of time to purchase tickets for the last tour of the day! Our tour guide walked us through the property, giving a thorough history of Frank Lloyd Wright, his career, and Taliesin West.

I ended up enjoying the tour even more than I thought I would! It was so fascinating to learn more about his history, technique, and personal quirks. I'd highly recommend touring Taliesin West if you ever find yourself in Scottsdale, Arizona! 

After the tour, we headed to Life Time Athletic to freshen up for dinner! It felt so good to clean up and change clothes before heading to the Scotssdale Waterfront for the evening. We made a dinner reservation for later that evening and decided to walk along the canal where an art festival was taking place.

The water and light themed art show was so unique and we loved walking around to check out the different installments! 

Our dinner reservations were at Olive & Ivy, a Mediterranean restaurant with a Californian flair. This ended up being our very favorite restaurant of our trip because of its unique atmosphere, delicious menu, and perfect location! They also had an amazing patio which they described as resembling restaurants in the south of France, which we would love to try out if we head back to Scottsdale in the future! 

Spring Break in AZ: Day 1

This year for spring break, we headed to Arizona for a week in the warm sunshine! We were at the airport by 5am and despite feeling super sleepy, we were excited and ready to kick off a week away! 

I started reading this book while waiting at our gate and really like it so far! Not as good as The Couple Next Door, but worth reading!

It was my first time flying Sun Country (I usually almost always fly Delta), which means we were in Terminal 2 at the Minneapolis airport! Terminal 2 was definitely a lot smaller (no Starbucks!), but also far less busy than the main terminal--which is always a plus! 

Upon arriving in Phoenix, we picked up our luggage and rental car before heading out to explore the area!

We started out in Tempe, AZ to grab lunch and walk around at a park to stretch our legs and soak up the sun! 

We hung around the park for awhile before heading to the Tempe Marketplace for a snack and a quick Target run to grab a few items such as water, snacks to take on our hikes, sunscreen, etc.

The weather was in the upper 60s with plenty of beautiful blue skies--absolute perfection! 

Tempe Marketplace was such a fun area! There were so many shops, restaurants, and outdoor seating areas! 

We grabbed an acai bowl at Nekter, a juice bar within the Tempe Marketplace and it was delicious! My bestie, Allie, introduced me to acai bowl during my first visit to Hawaii and I've been obsessed with them ever since! It's basically a smoothie bowl that is topped with fruit, granola, and honey--so good! 

After our Target run, we swung by the hotel to drop off our luggage, freshen up, and head out to dinner! We ended up crashing pretty early that evening after such an early morning at the airport! 

Are you going anywhere for Spring Break?
Ever been to Arizona?

February Books

It's no secret that I love to read all different types of books--I chalk it up to my "never stop learning" mindset that's so much a part of me. I'm tend to be reading at least two books at a time--usually one personal development book and one fiction book. I like the contract between genres because the personal development books help me learn, while the fiction books help me to relax and unwind.

I typically keep a book in my gym bag, one in my nightstand, and one in my work bag--this way, no matter where I am, I always have something to pass the time if I find myself with a few unexpected minutes. I read while walking on the treadmill at the club, while waiting in a doctor / dentist lobby, if I arrive a few minutes early to meet a friend for a coffee date, etc. This is how I'm able to plow through a few books per month--by being intentional about making time to read verses scrolling through Instagram for the millionth time.

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In the past (almost) month, I've read so many good books and wanted to share! First up, we have The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. This book caught my attention within the first chapter and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end. True story, I actually read this whole book in two sittings at Barnes & Noble.

It's a story about a couple that goes next door for a dinner party while leaving their sleeping baby at home since the babysitter cancels at the last minute. The baby is abducted and as the book unfolds, more and more secrets about the couple rise to the surface. Such a good story and well-worth your time. 

The next book I read was Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. Andy gave me this book for Christmas and I've been reading it every day while walking on the treadmill during my lunch break at work. This is a book that all women need to read--I even picked up an extra copy to sent to my bestie down in Hawaii because it is that good! The way in which Lysa writes this book makes you feel like you're old friend chatting in your living room. She's open, honest, and has a great sense of humor--I love that she makes you feel like we're all in this together. The overall theme of the book is dealing with rejection--from friends, enemies, and situations, and how we can let that become our identity, or grow from it. 

I joined a new small group back in September and I kid you not, this is the best small group I've ever been a part of! I love these girls so much--our conversations, friendships, and studies have been just what my heart has needed in this season of life. We're working through For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn, which explains how the male mind works. Talk about eye-opening! I love that the content is based on research, studies, and polls--some of the numbers blew my mind! This book has not only sparked some great conversations within our group, it has also helped me understand how Andy thinks as well. We'll be moving to the book about women, For Men Only, next month.

The last book I read this month was The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I was really looking forward to reading this book and therefore breezed through it fairly quickly. I'll definitely say that it was one of those books where I loved it at first, then I wasn't sure, then I loved it at the end! I'm a huge fan of books that don't reveal the mystery until the very end, so this one did not disappoint on that note. I felt like the suspense kept me interested in the book but I feel like I was a little disappointed when I found out the answer to who the woman in cabin 10 really was.

What books have you read lately?
Any thrillers that you'd recommend?
I need some new ones to read on the plane next week.

Spring Shopping

Hello, and Happy Valentine's Day! Now that it's the evening after Valentine's, my mind is already on all things spring! With our upcoming spring break vacation, I've been scoping out all of the bright colors that are hitting the stores this time of year. I've created a little roundup of some of my favorite styles, colors, and items that I've got my eyes on lately! 

1. This J.Crew 3" Chino Short looks so cute and stylish for late spring and summer--I love the brilliant azalea color, but am also thinking that the baroque blue and storm grey colors would be perfect for mixing and matching all summer long!

2. For many years, the J.Crew Tippi sweater has been a staple in my wardrobe--they are lightweight, fitted, and come in a variety of colors--I'm loving this neon citron color--the perfect contrast against a golden summer tan.

3. I've been a member of Rocksbox for over a year now and it is one of my very favorite things--it's like Christmas every time I receive a new set in the mail! If you'd like to try it out, you can use my code LAURABFF708 for a FREE month! I received a Loren Hope Sarra small cuff last summer and they recently released this pretty blush color! It would be the perfect addition to a spring outfit! 

4. Leather pants! Need I say more? There have been so many girls sporting these at work and I love how they jazz up a simple sweater and leggings ensemble. I am loving this pair from Nordstrom.

5. On the topic of pants, I have a thing for ripped jeans--I love how they add a little edge to an outfit while still keeping it on the casual side. I love this light-wash jean from Nordstrom for cooler spring evenings.

6. I received an open-back pullover last year from a friend and never thought I'd like this style. Then, one day I was freezing and grabbed it from the back of my dresser drawer and was surprised by how much I enjoyed wearing it! The open back makes it easy to switch up your look since you can pair it with different colored tanks underneath. This minty-colored chakra sweatshirt from Athleta is definitely on my radar!

7. I'm thinking that 2017 is going to be the year I pull the trigger on a pull of classic Hunter boots. I'm picturing this glossy pale pink colored boots paired with skinny jeans and my military jacket on a drizzly April morning.

8. My sister and I were at the mall last weekend when we came across these front-tie shirts--at first I wasn't really crazy about them, but after coming across a few while browsing the web, I think they've grown on me! This gray one from Banana Republic actually has a slight pinstripe pattern to it--such a fun detail! 

9. Kendra Scott is one of my favorite jewelry companies; my friend Colleen actually introduced me to KS when I was visiting Hawaii last summer. I love the simple styles paired with classic gold and a pop of vibrant color. The Rayne necklaces from her collection are one of my favorite ways to dress up a plain pullover or longsleeved tee! Love this coral one for spring!

10. The majority of my sweaters come from J.Crew and Banana Republic--their lightweight, fitted sweaters are perfect for layering over a basic tank or under your favorite jacket. I think this neon violet Italian cashmere blend pullover would be so cute paired with my white jeans and denim jacket for Easter! 

11. Along with Kendra Scott's Rayne pendant necklaces, I also adore the Elle earrings since they're small enough to be lightweight yet large enough to really dress up a basic outfit. How pretty are these turquoise drop earrings?

12.  It's no secret that I have a mild obsession with Nike and may or may not currently own at least five pairs. I love these pastel pink Nikes--they'd be so cute paired with a basic white tee and a pair of light-wash distressed denim.

What are some colors / items you're looking forward to wearing as the seasons change? 
Do you have any upcoming vacations planned?

Inspiration Out & About: Mall of America

Last Friday evening, we headed to the Mall of America (MOA) to check out a new restaurant. While walking around before our dinner reservation, we came across some gorgeous design inspiration throughout the mall.

The first installation that we stumbled upon was this gorgeous paper hearts display in the Swatch store. I adore the bright, bold color palette and the paper layers that make up each individual heart. I'll definitely be saving this color palette as inspiration for my design projects.

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It's no secret that I have a passion for lettering, and this quirky lettering on the entrance window of Banana Republic caught my eye. I love the gray color and the simple lettering that mimics that of a quick jot with a marker.

After dinner, we continued to browse the mall--as we were walking along the first floor, DavidsTea caught my eye! These camel illustrations filled with bold patterns were so fun! 

As we browsed around inside of the shop, so much of their packaging caught my eye. I absolutely adore Valentine's Day, so their seasonal teas were right up my alley! Pinks, Reds, patterns, and gold foil, oh my! 

Here I am swooning over the pretty patterns on this packaging. I was completely in my element inside of this store! 

This color wheel of teas was so pretty--I am truly a marketer's dream.

I loved admiring the clean and simple illustrations on these seasonal packages of tea! I left the store that evening feeling so inspired by the gorgeous color palettes, patterns, and illustrations that made up the seasonal tea packaging at DavidsTea! 

Are you a tea fan? I'm more of a coffee person, but I do enjoy fruity-flavored teas on occasion! 

Hanging with the LTU Crew

Last week, my Life Time University (LTU) team at work headed over to Punch Bowl Social for an afternoon bowling and bonding!

PBS recently opened and after hearing my coworker's raving reviews, I was looking forward to checking it out! 

PBS definitely did not disappoint! I was impressed by the unique atmosphere right when I walked in--it had an edgy vibe to it and I loved how open and spacious it was. There are a variety of games to choose from, a full bar and menu, and even karaoke! 

Before we headed out, I checked out their website to get a feel for where we were going. I loved the lettering that they feature on their website! 

As everyone began to arrive, we got suited up with bowling shoes, drinks, and a taco bar! 

My friend, Kari, brought her A-game by wearing her snazzy bowling socks! 

On that note, can we just take a minute to realize either A. how small my feet are, or b. how big my friend Doyle's feet are. He's over a foot taller than me, so there's that! 

We spent the afternoon bowling, chatting, and just goofing around! It was so nice to get out of the office and connect with members of my team in more of a social setting. I told my sister that we should have a double date at PBS so that we can check out more of the activities they offer--the giant Scrabble game sounds right up my alley! 

Group shot right before we all split ways and headed out for the evening! What a fun way to break up the week! 

Ever been to a place like Punch Bowl Social?
Are you good at bowling?
I'm awful! 

Typical Day of Eats

What I eat is actually a question that I get fairly often from family and friends--I think part of this has to do with that fact that I work for a large health + fitness company. I promise I don't have all the answers--this is simply what works for me. I started eating healthy right after college and eventually figured out what works best for my body so that I feel my best. I've also worked with a nutrition coach before, but that's a story for another day. ;)

My friend Kari inspired me to purchase this meal prep system (I own the hot pink one) and I absolutely love it--it makes eating healthy on the go so simple! I've always been one of those people that eats six or so small meals per day rather than three large meals; I have issues with hypoglycemia, so eating every few hours keeps my energy and blood sugar balanced. 

This meal prep system comes with a bunch of these cute little containers to store your meals in--I love that they're clear--making it easy to see which meal I want to grab next. I've ordered a few add-on packs for mine so that I have containers in multiple sizes. 

I start each morning with coffee--either at home, or I swing by my neighborhood Starbucks on the way into work. At home, I use my Keurig to brew a cup of Starbucks Verona and add a splash of organic half & half. My go-to order at Starbucks is a venti iced Americano with extra ice and a splash of cream. #highmaintenance

Once I get settled in at my desk (computer on, coat off, check emails and calendar, etc.), I make a shake. I bring my mini Ninja blender and whip up a protein shake consisting of Life Time Fitness whey protein, L-glutamine, probiotic powder, unsweetened almond milk, Life Greens (Life Time's version of Dynamic Greens), peanut butter, and ice. Once in awhile I forget to bring the blade attachment for my blender, so I run across the parking lot to grab a Mocha Madness shake at the Life Cafe inside the club.

Around 10am, I break into my snack, which is usually a protein paired with a carb. Organic string cheese and a delicious orange were on tap for this day. Throughout the morning I typically drink one Camelbak full of water--I think that's around 24oz. I'm also one of those people that has to have a ton of ice in my water--I love when it's freezing cold! This is also why I sit with a blanket in my lap all day.

I usually eat lunch around noon and tend to work through lunch but I'd love to break this habit soon so that I can have a "real" break. My days are always just so busy--poor excuse, but it's the truth. My lunches at work are almost always a salad, soup, or a random mix of protein + veggies as shown above. This particular lunch was an organic chicken sausage, brussels sprouts, red + orange peppers, and coconut oil.

I also drink at least one of these LaCroix sparkling waters each day--I'm obsessed with them! Cran-Raspberry, Coconut, and Passionfruit are my favorite flavors. I also keep bars of dark chocolate in my desk drawer and have a small square almost every day following lunch.

Around 2:30pm, I'm ready for a snack. One of my favorites lately is fresh veggies, organic guacamole, and some flavored water--this peach lemonade flavor is so good and definitely curbs my sweet tooth! 

This is what I call my "car snack"--it's what I eat while driving to my next activity after work--whether it be a coffee date with a friend, the gym, running errands, etc.

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I just always need a little something between leaving work and eating dinner to avoid that awful "hangry" feeling! 

My dinners usually consist of a protein, healthy fat, something green, and a complex carb like a sweet potato. I don't eat red meat and haven't since high school so my proteins are almost always chicken, turkey, egg whites, or protein powder. Overall, I don't really "love" meat and could easily be a vegetarian without any issues.

I always have a snack in the evening before bed otherwise I wake up hungry in the night--some of my favorites are a smoothie / protein shake, homemade popcorn, small bowl of cereal, or some fruit and peanut butter.

I'm a creature of habit and generally eat the same things over and over again until I get sick of them--then I take a break and eat something else before cycling my old favorites back into my daily routine again. 

What are some of your favorite snacks?
What do you typically pack for lunch each day?

Creating a Life Vision

Oh, hey! I figured I'd clear the dust off my blog and put my writing hat back on. Blogging is something that I LOVED a few years ago since it served as a creative outlet. I've made a list of post ideas and they'll be popping up in the near future so be sure to come along for the ride! Today I'll be talking about my love for creating a life vision! 

My life mentor is big on vision boards--you know, the kind where there are tons of images clipped out of magazines and glued to a poster board? In fact, she creates one every year to serve as inspiration for her upcoming year. It's also important to note that she does every. single. thing. on that board in that year. Jayme is definitely one of the most goal-oriented and inspiring people that I've ever met--and the best part is that she sits three desks away from me at work so we get to chat on the regular.

After seeing Jayme's boards, I was feeling inspired to create one of my own. However, rather than creating one for the year, I chose to create a life vision board. One evening, I sat on my kitchen island (because that's totally normal, right?), blasted some of my favorite music, and got to work. I started out by collecting all of my images to a Pinterest board, and then later creating a simple template in InDesign to drop my images in. Since then, I've printed mine and have it hanging both at my desk and framed in the hallway of our home. Glancing at it each and every day brings a smile to my face as a reminder of where I'm headed in life.

Going left to right on my vision board shown above, below are the meanings behind the images if you're interested! 

1. Live a creative life—incorporate my love for illustration into my life, draw more, hang my art on the walls of my home

2. Rid my life of anything that doesn’t fit my vision—follow the no-clutter mindset and embrace minimalism so that I can focus on the things that truly bring me joy.

3. Discover my personal style—I'll do a separate post on this because I feel like I've finally defined my style over the last six months. 
4. Welcome a golden retriever into our family

5. Invest time into journaling / reading / reflection / to ensure I'm in alignment with creating my best life
6. Incorporate psychology into my daily routine—whether it be as a life coach, getting my PhD, etc.
7. Learn to play the piano

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8. Live a healthy and fit life / be my best self
9. Learn calligraphy
10. Visit Australia
11. Live a life that I love
12. Be more open to “just go”—take advantage of opportunities, do things that are out of my comfort zone, etc.

13. Have strong and healthy friendships—ones where I feel safe, heard, and valued
14. Own a home that we love—a place that we love to come home to
15. Be brave with my life

16. Prioritize my mental health through mindfulness + meditation

17. Learn to be okay with being alone, schedule down time, enjoy my own company
18. Live by the beach

19. Say “no" more often so that I can say “yes" to things that bring me joy
20. Live an authentic + intentional life / be free
21. Have a family
22. Write my autobiography
23. Learn to truly love myself and restore the relationship with my body—live a life that reflects this

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24. Continually strengthen our marriage and be intentional about maintaining this important relationship

Have you ever created a vision board? 
What are three things you'd like to accomplish either this year or in your lifetime?

Chalkboard Frame

This past weekend, I decided that I was going to make my DIY chalkboard frame project happen! After hitting the gym early on Saturday morning, I met up with a friend to check out some local antique shops and the good old GW for a large frame that I could transform into my very own chalkboard. We ended up finding the perfect sized frame and although I'm not usually a DIY / crafty person, I was excited to take a stab at transforming a crazy-looking 90's framed print into a chalkboard to hang behind my bar cart.

Later that evening, my friend and I sat in my bathroom and chatted while I covered everything with chalkboard paint. It took a couple of coats to cover the existing art, but in the end, I was impressed with how smoothly the paint transformed a piece of glass into a usable chalkboard surface. In addition to the large frame, I also painted a smaller frame to hang in my entryway.

After the chalkboard section was completely dry, I began painting the trim a bright white to help it "pop." The chalkboard portion needs to sit for three days before I can begin covering it with my handlettering, and the trim needs a second coat of white, but overall, I am so pleased with how this turned out! I'm looking forward to having an outlet to showcase my lettering and chalk doodles! 

Valentines for Coworkers

A few coworkers and I recently started a group where we meet a couple times per month to chat about creativity, work on personal projects, and collaborate on ideas. After our kick-off meeting, I was feeling inspired to get back into my illustration groove of creating look-alike characters. I whipped up these little Valentines for the members of our group, along with a couple extra people that I'd had the pleasure of getting to know at my new job. 

Chalkboard Lettering

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My friend, Jenny, recently transformed her coffee table to have a chalkboard top on it. Whenever we hang out at her condo, I find so much joy in doodling all over the top of it while we sit and chat. Last weekend, she hosted a "Galentine's" party which consisted of us lifting at Life Time, then coming back to her place for chocolate cake. It's all about balance, right? 

Love You Forever Custom Baby Print

Last week I wrapped up a custom handlettering project that I've been itching to share! This pretty print features a phrase from the well-known children's book and is perfectly fitting for a nursery.