Healthy + Simple Meals

You guys know that I love living a healthy and active lifestyle -- it always makes me feel my best! I recently shared some of my favorite healthy + simple snacks and today I'll be sharing some healthy + simple meals! I'm also linking up with Sarah and Emily to chat about crock pot meals! 

IMG_0522.jpg

I prefer to eat a very fresh, simple diet -- most of my meals are composed of mixing a bunch of items I've already prepped (chopped veggies, cooked lean meats, etc.) rather than following complicated recipes. If there's something that I'd like to make -- take tomato soup for example since I just made that a few days ago, I usually just make it up as I go. I know that I like my tomato soups to have a little texture and have a lot a basil, so I roasted a huge pan of tomatoes, garlic, and onions, pureed it with veggie broth and tons of basil, and then seasoned it to taste (adding EVOO, oregano, and S&P) as it was simmering on the stove. 

For me, the key to making healthy + simple meals is meal prepping! I do this almost every Sunday afternoon to set myself up for success during the week. Veggies are washed and chopped, grapes are rinsed and put into a large container, sweet potatoes are sliced, and chicken / turkey / salmon (whichever is my protein of choice for the week) is cooked.

Below are some of the meals I've been enjoying lately -- they all were thrown together using items from my meal prepping and most don't take more than a few minutes to make.

IMG_E0863.jpg

Deconstructed Greek Salad - leftover salmon from our Sunday dinner, romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, homemade hummus, homemade tzatziki.

IMG_1385.jpg

Roasted Veggie Bowl - refried organic black beans, homemade hummus, roasted veggies: zucchini, roma tomato, brussels sprouts, red onion. I paired this with a whole grain flax tortilla with hummus to give this meal a little more staying power.

IMG_1235.jpg

Avocado Toast - Toasted Ezekiel or Dave's Killer Bread, mashed avocado, a tomato slice, and a fried egg paired with fruit on the side.

IMG_0917.jpg

Thai Chicken Flatbread - Whole grain flat bread, topped with cheese, Thai-seasoned chicken, red cabbage, red peppers, carrots, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and drizzled with a homemade Thai peanut sauce. We love these flatbreads (they're at Costco) -- they're great for making wraps, quesadillas, burritos, and flatbreads.

IMG_0876.jpg

Omelet -- Egg white omelet filled with cheddar cheese and fresh avocado slices with fruit on the side. I have weird things about eggs and if I think about them too much, they freak me out -- especially the yolks. Due to this, I prefer egg whites to eggs most of the time since they taste less egg-y if thank makes sense! :)

IMG_0833.jpg

Baked Salmon + Veggies - Baked salmon (I top it with butter or olive oil and S&P before baking) and roasted veggies -- usually something green, some onions, and grape tomatoes. This is a meal that we usually make on Saturday or Sunday evenings when we're at home.

IMG_0772.jpg

Stir Fry - Veggies and chicken or turkey mixed with General Tso's stir fry sauce and topped with chopped almonds or peanuts for some crunch. I usually pair this with some bread or rice so it holds me over longer. I love making these when I need to clean out the fridge -- any veggie is great to add to the mix! 

IMG_0687.jpg

Salad + Chips and Salsa - I like to always have veggies, some sort of fat (cheese or avocado or nuts), and a protein on my salads. Most of the time I make my own dressings -- either a honey mustard one or a vinaigrette made with EVOO, lemon juice, vinegar, S&P. This meal is perfect for hot summer evenings.

IMG_0681.jpg

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread - Buffalo chicken, cheese, onion, tomatoes, romaine, and a drizzle of ranch.

IMG_0651.jpg

Oatmeal + Fruit - Old fashioned oats with a drizzle of pure maple syrup, chopped peaches, and a sprinkling of almonds for some crunch.

IMG_0653.jpg

Homemade Pizza - Multigrain flatbread topped with pizza sauce, mozzarella, sausage, and tons of veggies. Clearly we use these flatbreads all the time! 

IMG_0765.jpg

Packed Lunches - As far as lunches go, I almost always bring a wrap, soup, salad, or leftovers to work each day. Snacks for work always include a yogurt cup, a fruit, a veggie or two, and some almonds. 

Two of my blogging buddies are chatting about crock pot meals today and here's the thing -- I never use our crock pot! Ever! Andy uses it all the time to make a huge batch of chicken breasts every week, but I never use it. I don't eat a lot of meat and I haven't really experimented with crock pot recipes for other meals. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the other linked posts from today to get some ideas to try out this fall and for easy meals once baby is here! 

What are some of your go-to meals?
What do you usually pack in your lunch?

Short Hair Squad

I've been back to the short bob for almost 6 months now and am still obsessed with this sassy 'do! Since my hair is so thick and fine-textured, it takes a little help to get it to style how I'd like it to. The items below are what make the magic happen! 

As far as styling tools go, I use this hairdryer and I've been a huge fan of this flatiron -- I purchased it back in 2013 and it's still going strong! I don't really use curling irons / wands anymore now that my hair is short -- if I have waves or curls, it's done using my flatiron.

ShortHairSquad.jpg

1. Nutritive Nectar Thermique // Kérastase
My stylist recommended this product to me -- especially since I use heat on my hair every morning (hairdryer and flatiron). After combing through my freshly washed hair, I rub a dime-sized amount of this product throughout my hair.

2. Sea Salt Spray // Not Your Mother's
Next, I spray this sea salt spray all over my hair to give it a little texture.

3. Root Pump Plus // Big Sexy Hair
This is my favorite mousse of all time -- I just work a generous dollop of it into the roots of my hair before drying it.

4. Texturizing Dry Shampoo // Not Your Mother's
After drying my hair, I'll flat iron it to get it styled how I want -- then I add this texturizing dry shampoo to my roots to give it a little more volume / texture.

5. brilliant™ Humectant Pomade // Aveda
In the winter, my hair gets staticky, so just a dot of this pomade on my palms does wonders for taming the fly-aways. This product is also a dream in the summer if you live in a humid climate.

6. Spray & Play™ // Big Sexy Hair
This hairspray is perfect for spraying everything down because it holds things in place but still allows movement so your hair doesn't look stiff.

7. Spray & Stay™ // Big Sexy Hair
I use this stronger hold hairspray for teasing sections of my hair or if I need to hold a partial updo in place.

What are your favorite hair products?
How often do you wash your hair? 

Becoming a Morning Person

Up until graduating college, I was a night owl -- staying up late and sleeping in until mid-morning. Those days are long gone, and I attribute the drastic change to the fact that I had to alter my sleeping habits once starting my first design job.

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 6.31.48 PM.png

Morning is definitely my favorite time of day -- I love the feeling of a fresh start and the possibilities that a new day brings. I feel as though I'm most productive / motivated during this time of day and like to power through tasks to get my day off to a successful start. Most mornings, I'm up at 5:45am and enjoy taking my time to get ready rather than rushing out the door feeling frazzled.

Many of my friends are big fans of the morning hours, but the few that aren't have asked me how to become a morning person. Below are five ways I've made mornings a little easier and enjoyable:

1. Go to bed earlier
If you wake up tired, it's going to be hard to get out of a nice warm bed and start your day. I typically go to bed around 10-10:30pm to ensure that I get enough rest each night.

2. Set your alarm across the room
I charge my phone on the dresser on the opposite side of our bedroom, which makes it a lot harder to hit snooze! Also, once my alarm goes off, I get up -- no trying to fall back asleep for "5 more minutes" or laying in bed scrolling through my phone.

3. Establish a morning routine
I also have an evening routine (pack lunch, do something to unwind, lay out my clothes for the next day, etc.) and I really feel like this is the secret to success. Laying out my clothes the night before and packing my bag for work (lunch, gloves / hat, anything that I need to run an errand after work, etc.) is packed and ready to go so there's no scrambling around looking for my white cami tank to wear under my sweater eight minutes before I need to head out the door.

4. Have something to look forward to
This one is definitely key for me -- I love waking up early, showering + getting ready, and then cozying up my cup of coffee while reading for a bit. Sometimes it's a few chapters of a book, a devotional, or just reading through blogs on my Feedly app. 

5. Give yourself a buffer
One of my friends at my first job told me that she would wake up 20 minutes before she had to leave for work in the morning, throw on some clothes, and skip breakfast because she hated mornings so much. I don't know about you, but that's definitely not how I want to begin my day. I like to give myself some buffer time while getting ready, that way if I spill coffee on my shirt or if my hair just isn't cooperating, I have enough time to take care of the issue without being late to work.

Are you a morning person or night owl?
What are some things you do every morning?

10 Things I Do Every Day

If you're interested in 10 things I do every week, click here! This is a random list of the first 10 things that popped into my head -- I'm very much a creature of habit and enjoy keeping my routines as long as they're working well for me.

1 (4).jpg

1. Shower + Get Ready
This is non-negotiable for me; I just do not feel my best unless I've showered and dressed for the day! 

2. Drink a protein shake
Being a vegetarian, I make a conscious effort to make sure I'm consuming enough protein each day. I like to start my day with a protein shake during my commute.

IMG_7469.JPG

3. Go to work
A good chunk of my day is spent at work, but I am so thankful for a job that I love! I really enjoy the work that I do, the people that I work with (it's a small company and definitely feels like a family), and the environment (lots of natural light and no cubicles!).

4.jpg

4. Do something active
I love that saying -- "a body in motion stays in motion" because it is so true! It's so hard to find motivation to hit the gym if I haven't been going consistently. Plus, I feel so much better when I'm active, so it's a win-win! 

1 (3).jpg

5. Eat
This reminds me, I still need to do a full day of meals post since my last one was from before I became a vegetarian! I'm definitely more of a grazer than a meals person, so I generally eat something every few hours. I've been doing this most of my adult life and it seems to work best for my body.

6. Listen to music or podcasts
I love listening to music during my commute, while at work, and while working out. I have an Apple music subscription and love listening to my playlists and podcasts. I'm starting to switch over to Christmas music now that it's November, but during the rest of the year you can usually find me listening to my top favorite artists / bands:

PVRIS
Red
SafetySuit
Demon Hunter

7. Text my sister, Andrea and my bestie, Allie
My little sister has become one of my best friends and Allie and I have been the best of friends since I was in 8th grade! We usually have text conversations going throughout each day -- checking in with one another, sharing funny things, etc.

30.jpg

8. Spend time with Andy
Our schedules are a little crazy this fall, but we always make sure to spend time together in the evenings after work and by keeping our weekly date night! 

1 (1).jpg

9. Prep for the next day
I like to set myself up for success the night before, so I usually pack my lunch, pack my bag for work, pack my gym bag, and lay out my clothes / jewelry / shoes for the next day. This also means staying on top of laundry throughout the week so that I have everything I need.

FullSizeRender.jpg

10. Do something to unwind
This usually consists of watching a show, reading, painting my nails, diffusing essential oils, etc. I'm a high-energy person and but like to wind down before bed so that I can drift off to restful sleep fairly quickly. 

What are three things you do each day?
What's something you'd like to start doing every day?

A Day in the Life

Day in the life posts are one of my all-time favorites to read! I picked a random day last week to document and share in this linkup for today.

1 (1).jpg

I love mornings and it's rare that I'll hit snooze once I hear my alarm. Fun fact, my current alarm is this song; I prefer to use music as an alarm instead of a standard alarm tone.

Since I wash my hair everyday, my first stop is always the shower. Once I'm done showering, getting dressed, and combing my hair, I head into the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee. This is my favorite coffee that I've been using for years.

I'm one of those people that likes to put every minute to good use while getting ready in the mornings. So, while the Keurig is brewing, I head back to the bathroom and use a little makeup remover to take off any mascara that was leftover from the day before. Is it just me, or is there always makeup left behind after showering even if you washed your face the night before? I also apply my favorite eyeshadow primer so that it can dry by the time I'm ready to apply my eye makeup.

7.jpg

I then grab my coffee, add a splash of creamer (and sometimes some whipped cream), and head back to the bathroom to get ready for the day. The first thing I do is apply my trio of hair products; I begin by spraying this texturizing spray all over my hair, then I massage in a palmful of this mousse, before finishing with this heat protectant. Next I apply my makeup, before drying and styling my hair.

10.jpg

Once my hair is straightened and ready to go, I apply this pomade to smooth things out, then this texturizing dry shampoo to give it a little "oomph" and finish it off with this hairspray.

3.jpg

Once my hair and makeup are done, I apply a spritz of perfume, make the bed, and grab my lunch from the fridge. Then I blend up my shake (grass-fed whey protein + mocha java powder + almond milk + ice), transfer it to a travel tumbler, and head out the door. Once in awhile, I brew a second cup of coffee to take with me for the road.

14.jpg

Most days, I look forward to my commute to work -- I sip my protein shake while listening to a podcast or an audiobook. I just downloaded this one the other day after having multiple friends recommend it to me over the years.

9.jpg

Once I arrive at work, I say hello to the creative team (we all sit together with our desks facing inward like a big table), put my lunch in the fridge, and check my email. I take a look at my project list for the day and then prioritize what needs to be done before diving in.

8.jpg

I like to chat with the creative team throughout the day as I work, but whenever I'm under a tight deadline or need to work on something with intense concentration (such as complicated dielines or an illustration), I'll put my headphones on. I've been listening to this new album on repeat lately and it's been the perfect workday music! I typically have a snack mid-morning as well -- usually veggies + hummus / guac or a yogurt cup.

19.jpg

After too many years of skipping lunch breaks, I like to take a real break mid-day to recharge. If it's nice out, I like to take a quick walk nearby -- other times I'll run an errand, or just eat in the lunch room. If I go for a walk, I usually eat my lunch at my desk either before or afterwards. My lunch is usually soup, salad, or a random plate of things like cottage cheese, veggies, fruit, and an egg. I prefer to eat off of plates verses eating out of Pyrex containers, so I almost always plate my lunch before sitting down to eat it.

After lunch, I head back to my desk to finish out my day strong -- I keep running lists of things I need to accomplish and like to feel like I've had a productive day once it comes time to leave for the night. At my job, I do a lot with illustration, packaging, lettering, and product designs for makeup / beauty  and coffee retailers.

Mid-afternoon, I usually have another snack such as an apple with peanut butter, energy bites, or popcorn, etc.

18.jpg

Depending on if it's nice out or not, sometimes I'll walk around a local lake before heading home otherwise I'll hit the gym. On this particular day I had a phone date with my bestie while walking around the lake before heading home for the evening. 

13.jpg

On the way home, I swung by Target to grab coffee creamer and bought these (and some candy corn) to share with my friends at work. We have a candy table that is almost always stocked with some sort of candy or snack. 

In addition to his job as an art director, Andy is also an adjunct professor of design and he was teaching on this particular evening so I had a low key evening at home. I changed clothes, packed my lunch for the next day, and made a quick dinner (spaghetti squash + broccoli + red peppers along with a side of cottage cheese and berries) before lighting a candle and settling in to enjoy a few shows. 

A few hours later, Andy arrived home so we caught up for a bit before calling it a night. I try to get to bed by 10pm each night, but this doesn't always happen! 

What are three things that are part of your daily routine?
Do you typically hit snooze or do you get up right away?