A great hair day

Sometimes the simple things in life help you to have a great day. My day has been great because I got my hair cut and styled just how I asked. I’m not usually so girly, but it is nice to find a hairstylist that listens to you and does quality work.

This is my before picture. My hair hadn't been cut for almost 3 years!

This is my before picture. My hair hadn’t been cut for almost 3 years!

This is my after picture! My hair is rarely so cooperative and pretty!

This is my after picture! My hair is rarely so cooperative and pretty!

Another after pic to show how much was cut off! ^_^

Another after pic to show how much was cut off! ^_^

What has made your day great? Or, what makes a day great for you? Sometimes I find it is the simplest things that make the most difference and bring the biggest smile to my face. Yay for good hair days! ^_^  See you next week when I will bring you a great French toast recipe!

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Categories: Beauty, Good day, Good hair day, Hair, Pretty me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monday Meal: Artichoke and Spinach Hero Sandwich

Artichoke and Spinach Hero Sandwich
Here's what the sandwich looks like open-faced!

                   Here’s what the sandwich looks like open-faced!

Ingredients-nutrition

  • 1 container of pesto (found in the refrigerated isle near the raviolis at the grocery store)
  • 1 loaf of fresh French bread (unsliced)
  • 1 (14 ounce) jar of marinated artichoke hearts,  chopped and slightly drained
  • 4 -5 ounces sliced provolone cheese  or 4 -5 ounces sliced pepper jack (or any cheese you have on hand sliced into thin pieces, I used cheddar this time and it tasted great too!)
  • 2 large firm organic tomatoes, thinly sliced (sometimes I also use organic cherry tomatoes and cut them into thin pieces, for this recipe I typically use about 15 cherry tomatoes if I don’t have organic beefsteak tomatoes on hand)
  • 2 cups fresh organic baby spinach, torn in pieces (I buy the bags of pre-washed organic baby spinach)
  • deli meats (optional, try to look for nitrate free deli meats if you choose to use them for this recipe!)

Directions

  1. Cut the French bread loaf length-wise.
  2. Hollow out the top half of each sandwich (leaving a 1-inch thick top).
  3. Spread pesto over each bread half, layer the marinated artichoke hearts, then provolone cheese, tomato slices, deli meats and then top with spinach.
  4. Close the sandwich.
  5. Cut the sandwich into  4-6 sandwich pieces.
  6. Enjoy!  ^_^
  7. Another similar version of this sandwich can be found here: http://www.food.com/recipe/artichoke-and-basil-hero-sandwich-138684#
Categories: artichokes, favorite recipes, Food, healthy foods, Monday Meal, sandwiches, spinach | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

16 Perfect Date Ideas To Do With The Old Soul In Your Life

These are some fantastic ideas for dates for both married and dating couples! Check ’em out!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wellness Wednesday: Staying Hydrated (the importance of drinking water)

Hello, I’m back with another Wellness Wednesday and today’s topic is about staying hydrated: the importance of drinking water.

So, we’ve all probably heard in our college or high school health classes that drinking water is important and that we need to drinking more of it, but do any of us actually remember the details covered in our health classes? Probably not!

Water spout

Here are some health class water facts that relate to the human body:

  • You are 2/3 water! Did you know that? Most people are about 66% water.
  • The brain is over 80% water!
  • Muscles are also over 2/3 water.
  • Your blood is also over 70% water.
  • You sweat when you sleep, exercise, and just from being alive so you are always losing water (the average person sweats out at least 2/3 of a gallon to 1.5 gallons (3 to 6 liters) per day)!
  • You need to drink 8 glasses of water (at least 1 gallon/ about 4.5 liters) a day to make up for the water your body loses each day.
  • Over 70 percent of Americans have a mild level of chronic dehydration!

Water dropletsSo, obviously water is important to our bodies, but what are the other benefits of staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water? Here are just a few things that water does for your body when you are hydrated (beyond keeping you alive of course!):

  • You will have fewer headaches and reduced back pain (since your muscles are more hydrated, they have fewer cramps and aches).
  • More energy and less fatigue partly because your brain can function better when its hydrated.
  • Reduces cravings and snacking because we often mistake thirst as hunger when we are dehydrated.
  • Skin looks healthier/you have a better complexion because dehydration is a major cause of dry skin.
  • Your immune system gets a boost because your kidneys are able to keep toxins flushed out of your body more easily (BONUS: you also will suffer from fewer urinary tract infections and less constipation too, since staying hydrated keeps your digestive tract and urinary tract clear and happy too!).
  • Helps keep your metabolism humming! Who doesn’t want a good metabolism? Drinking enough water helps your body to burn its fat stores more easily than if you’re dehydrated. Did you know that a 2-5% dehydration level will already cause headache, brain fog, and a slower metabolism? Better drink up!

Drinking waterWays to help remind yourself to stay hydrated:

  1. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning (maybe with a squeeze of lemon juice?).
  2. Drink water before each meal and snack.
  3. To spice things up, you can add pieces of fruit to your water to flavor it (berries work really well for this) Also, here is a link to some recipes for flavored water: http://www.brit.co/flavored-water/ 
  4. Try to drink herbal teas and non-caffeinated beverages (that don’t contain added sugar) more often than coffee and black tea (if you do drink coffee or caffeinated teas be sure to drink a glass of water right afterward). The coffee and tea only count for about half of their volume toward your hydration. What I mean is, if you drink a 16 oz coffee/tea that only 8 oz of that will count toward staying hydrated, so you need to make up for the other 8oz with water, as the coffee and black tea can be a bit dehydrating otherwise!
  5. Try to drink your water after it has been filtered if possible, so that there is less possibility of  heavy metal contamination in it.
  6. Try to drink water from stainless steel or glass containers to avoid BPA contamination from plastic water bottles. I personally use a Kleen Kanteen stainless steel bottle for cold drinks (or one of their insulated bottles for hot and cold). Also, some stores and websites sell glass water bottles wrapped in protective containers so be sure to look for these at your local health food and fitness stores (or online)! BPA is a whole ‘nother topic for another time, but suffice it to say that it is a possible hormone disruptors and may be linked to an increased risk of some cancers.

Well, that’s all for now, but I hope that you go out and drink a big glass of water right now! See you next week!  ^_^

Sunset

Categories: Coffee, Cold and Flu Remedies, Drinking Water, Health, Health and Wellness, Herbal Tea, Holistic Health, Hydration, Staying Hydrated, Water, Weight Loss, Wellness Wednesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Relationships

Hey guys! I’m back with another Wellness Wednesday and today’s topic is healthy relationships!

What makes a healthy relationship exactly? And what kinds of relationships are we talking about exactly?

Well, I’m actually talking about ALL relationships is your life: family, friends, romantic, platonic, work related, etc.

Love is patient; love is kind.

Love is patient; love is kind.

Let’s start with what makes a relationship UN-healthy:

  • You do all the planning, calling, etc and they do little to none of it.
  • When it’s time to pay for something they never help (forgot their money again, oops!).
  • They like to be negative all the time and only complain about their life to you.
  • They never let you talk about your life or ask you questions.
  • They borrow things and never return them (even though you’ve asked multiple times).
  • They always want to borrow money, but don’t ever pay it back (even though they promise they will).
  • You catch them in lies or half-truths all the time (or very often).
  • After visiting or spending time with them you always feel worse than before they arrived.
  • You hesitate to take their calls/return their messages, because they are always calling and never say why they called.
  • Sometimes they are super nice and then the next time you see them they are very rude/mean/negative.
  • They constantly say mean things about you behind your back and/or to your face.
  • They seem to enjoy making you feel bad about yourself.
  • They like to cause drama in your life.
  • You end up being their therapist every time you see them.
The hubby and I goofing around for the camera.  ^_^

The hubby and I goofing around for the camera. ^_^

So what does a positive and healthy relationship look like? Pretty much the opposite of the above:

  • They help you however they can and offer to help.
  • They’re not perfect, but they make an effort to be there for you when you are having a bad day.
  • They listen to you as much as you listen to them.
  • They help pay for lunch/movie tickets/gas/etc.
  • They enjoy talking about positive and encouraging things (hobbies, joking around without making others feel bad).
  • They enjoy seeing you succeed and cheer you on.
  • Both you and they like to avoid unnecessary drama and frustration.
  • You are glad to return a call/message from them because you both respect and help each other.
  • You and they both support each other through hard times, but try not to abuse the relationship you both have by making one person the “therapist”.
  • They are interested in hearing about you life as much as you enjoy hearing about theirs!
  • If they borrow items they return them if ask to do so.
  • They rarely borrow money and always pay it back as soon as possible!
  • They say positive things about you behind your back and to your face.
  • They try to make their time with you enjoyable and help plan things for you to do with them just as often (or nearly as often) as you do with them!
Left to right: My hubby D, me, my little sis, Mom, and Dad. Happy times!

Left to right: My hubby D, me, my little sis, Mom, and Dad. Happy times!

Overall, the important thing to remember from this post is that a healthy relationship is where both people try to considerate of each other and make their time together fun & enjoyable for everyone. A negative and UN-healthy relationship is one where only one person does most of the work without thanks or appreciation, and the other reaps all the benefits and reward without even being grateful.

Me w/ my longtime friend & pen-pal Sabine! We've always been there for each other over the 12+ years of our friendship!

Me w/ my longtime friend & pen-pal Sabine! We’ve always been there for each other over the 12+ years of our friendship! ^_^

So, in closing it is important to make sure that those closest to you are treating you with as much kindness and gratitude as they can. If you have toxic friends or relatives who can’t seem to be kind to save their lives, it might be best to put some distance between you and them and to let them know that they need to back off for awhile.

I hope this article has helped you think about ways to make your relationships healthier! Also, I hope ti helps you look inward and see where you can improve and become a better, kinder friend, lover, son/daughter, sister/brother, worker, etc.

D and me goofing around as we always do, even after over 6yrs of marriage!

D and me goofing around as we always do, even after over 6yrs of marriage!

Side note: If you are being physically, emotionally, or mentally abused in any way please seek help and get away from the person who is abusing you ASAP! Be safe and be loving toward yourself too! Below are some numbers to call to help you be safe and not get hurt!

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)  http://www.thehotline.org/ 

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453  https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/

Love is Respect.org: http://www.loveisrespect.org/

Take care and be well! See you all next week!  ^_^

Categories: Abuse, Family, Friends, Friendship, Health and Wellness, Healthy Relationships, Holistic Health, Love, Marriage, Mental Health, Relationships, Toxic Relationships, Wellness Wednesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monday Meal: Quick Bean Bowl Dip

Ok, so today’s post is a quick bean bowl dip that you can whip together in five minutes! It’s way, way better than a case of the Mondays and pretty healthy to boot! Mondays are a work day for me and my husband, so I like to keep things quick and yummy (that way we can spend time together before bed, and not grouchy and hungry for a long time)!

Quick Bean Bowl Dip, serves 1-2

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 can (or 16 oz) refried beans (pinto or black), you can also just use a can of black beans if you prefer
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup salsa of your choice
  • 6-10 cherry tomatoes, washed and cut into halves
  • 1 ripe medium sized avocado (sliced and diced)
  • tortilla chips to dip!
Here it is in all of its yummy glory!

Here it is in all of its yummy glory!

Here’s how you make it:

  • All that you have to do is mix your can of beans in a bowl with salsa, and heat (either in the microwave or on the stove in a pot/pan).
  • Once your bean/salsa mix is heated and in a bowl to serve, immediately add the shredded cheese.
  • Next, add the diced avocado pieces and sliced tomatoes on top.
  • Serve with tortilla or corn chips of your choice (I like the yellow, organic tortilla chips from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods the best). Serves 1-2 (depending on how hungry you are!).

Well, that’s all for today! See you on Wednesday.  ^_^

Categories: bean dip, Cooking, favorite recipes, healthy foods, Intuitive Eating, Meatless Monday, Mexican food, Mexican Recipes, Monday Meal, quick meals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wellness Wednesday: Mental Health Day (aka: Taking the Day Off)

I’m back with another Wellness Wednesday! Today’s topic is taking a mental health day (otherwise known as taking a personal day/etc) and why it is so important to your overall well-being and health!

Ventura BeachTaking a mental health day/day off every week or two (minimum of twice a month) is super important to me because I am the type of person that feels guilty for not be productive every single day! I feel that modern society imposes this unnecessary need for “being busy” so that we all feel more productive, but the truth is that after you come back from a day (or weekend) off of work and responsibilities you will feel more energized to take on the world again and it’s less likely that you’ll be dragging through your week as much as if you had stayed ON TASK with busy-ness 24/7! I know that after I come back from a day or two off of regular life I feel much more energized and ready, do you?

Journaling and reading with coffee are some of my favorite things to do on my mental health day!

Journaling and reading with coffee are some of my favorite things to do on my mental health day!

Some suggestions for your mental health day(s):

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood and then come home and relax with a book or a non-electronic hobby (trying to not overstimulate your mind on its day off, after all)
  • Ride a bike
  • Take a nature walk/hike/jog
  • Listen to soothing music
  • Play a card or board game with friends/family
  • If you have kids/spouse/etc make it easier on yourself and make some food ahead of time to reheat or make simple stuff like sandwiches and have an indoor picnic (or an outdoor one, in the late spring/summer)!
  • Paint or draw (even if you’re not a traditional artist or consider yourself very good at art, it is very soothing to doodle or draw, or even do an abstract painting)
  • Do crossword puzzles, wordsearches, or Sudoku
  • Cook a fun new meal (if you like cooking) or bake something (if you like baking/find it relaxing)
  • Take a bath or long shower
  • Go to the beach or lake (weather permitting, of course!)
  • Knit, crochet, or sew
  • Do some woodworking or carving
  • Make jewelry and/or design jewelry (something that I enjoy doing personally)
  • Read lots of books (either regular books or on your tablet, but try to keep away from the temptation to use social media on your mental health day)
  • Stretch and do some Pilates or yoga
  • Take pictures
  • Go for a drive
  • Go for a run
  • Go for a swim (outside or at an indoor pool)
  • Start a new hobby
  • Take an overnight trip to somewhere within driving distance of your city or town and explore!
  • Or just stay at home with your coffee/tea/hot beverage and snuggle up and SLEEP!
  • Spend an afternoon just hanging out with a friend (or friends) and loved ones.
  • Spend extra time with your kids or fur-babies/pets!
Chilling with my hubby at the beach last summer, so fun!

Chilling with my hubby at the beach last summer, so fun!

Are there any suggestions you would add to my list? I have done many of these things myself and find them to help me relax and get my mind re-set for the coming week! See you on Monday, and have a great weekend!

Categories: Beach Jewelry, Beaches, Books, Cooking, Date Night, Days Off, Drawing, Family, Friends, Health and Wellness, Healthy Living, hobbies, Journaling, Love, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wellness Wednesday: Gratitude and Love

Hey! I’m back with another Wellness Wednesday! Today’s topic is gratitude and love: the connection between the two and how your emotional health and physical health are very much connected to each other! I chose this topic because, love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is this week and so romance and love are all over the place this week!

Coffee BreakGratitude has a lot more to do with love, and with your overall health, than you may think! When you are grateful for the people and things in your life (pets, job, good health/lack of illness, food, shelter, etc) you feel more loving toward those around you and more giving. I have often found that when my heart is greedy and self-pitying I am more likely to be sharp with others and not give them  as much of the benefit of a doubt when they seemingly offend me (even if it’s unintentional). But when I come from a place of gratitude, I am already feeling “filled-up” in my heart and soul, so I am more patient and forgiving toward others.

The truth is gratitude is an attitude! It’s a way of living that helps you to not feel as stressed out! I know this is truth for me, that when I am stressed out I am self-centered (usually) and this also means I cannot come from a place of gratitude, much less a place of love. When one’s heart is open and overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness, it is a place that love will naturally flow out of!

sunset

It’s easy to love and be patient when you are grateful and not stressed out, but what if you always are stressed out? Keep a gratitude list (or as I call it a grati ‘tude list) every day for a month and make time to meditate or pray (or think positive thoughts) for a few minutes each morning or evening as you prepare to write your list! Here’s a picture of part of a gratitude list I wrote recently in my journal:

Here's part of my recent gratitude list!

Here’s part of my recent gratitude list!

So, in conclusion, to feel loving toward others and feel more happy/less stressed it helps to be thankful/grateful for the people and things already in your life. Having a good attitude with attract better things into your life than a greedy and ungrateful heart and attitude will, trust me I know from experience!

I say, "A grateful heart is a loving and healthy heart!"

I say, “A grateful heart is one that’s also a loving and healthy heart!”

Have a great week and even if you don’t like Valentine’s Day, treat yourself or a loved one to something special (doesn’t have to be candy/eating out) and be grateful for your life, as you only have one life to live! See you later everyone!

Categories: Family, Friends, Gratitude, Gratitude list, Healthy Heart, Love, Mental Health, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wellness Wednesday: Cold & Flu Season Tips!

Cold season has hit my home with a bang! The hubby is really sick right now and the onset was very quick, from a sore throat to full blown sickness!

Anyway, I thought I would share some things I use to help my hubby get well and that I’ve used to NOT get sick so far this cold & flu season! (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, these are just natural remedies that have helped me and my hubby, and I do not get paid or anything for recommending these products, I just happen to use and like them!)

One thing I always recommend taking for a cold or flu with a bad cough and lung pain is lomatium extract. It tastes kind icky, so I hide it in a glass of warm (not hot) tea or some Emergen C and warm water. Lomatium seems to help with coughs and lung problems (thins the mucus in the lungs) after you take about 1/2 a dropper-full of it 1-2 times a day for 2-3 days. You can find it online at the Herb Pharm website or at a health food store near you!

Here's what the bottle of lomatium extract looks like! Use 10-20 drops, twice daily for 3 days.

Here’s what the bottle of lomatium extract looks like! Use 10-20 drops, twice daily for 3 days.

Another thing I always make sure to have on hand is lots of herbal teas, both loose (used with a cloth teabag or teaball) and in tea bags. I look for ones that are made with soothing and healing herbs such as: ginger, peppermint, lemon balm, echinacea, rosehips, and elderberry. A friend of mine mixes some of her own loose teas, so I use those, but you could use ones in tea bags from the local health food store from brands such as Yogi or Traditional Medicinals (both good brands).

Here's a bag of my loose tea and tea ball. ^_^

Here’s a bag of my loose tea and tea ball.  The tea is from my friend at Silverbear Sundries. ^_^

Also, I do try to use Emergen C if I feel I or my hubby really need that extra dose of Vitamin C right away! This is just another way to get liquids into your body; keeping up on your liquids is very important when you are sick as it helps your body to be able to focus its defenses in the direction of getting well instead of getting hydrated! It’s always best to make things easier on your body when it’s not well (or when you are fighting to stay well, like me!).

Here's the Emergen-C that my hubby and I take. Raspberry is my favorite flavor!

Here’s the Emergen-C that my hubby and I take. Raspberry is my favorite flavor!

Lastly, It is also very important to get as much rest as you possibly can (if you are very sick), and to see a doctor if you’re not getting better of course!

I hope these tips have helped you and encouraged you in your fight against the flu and colds. Even if you aren’t sick yet, I encourage you to keep your immune system up with healthy foods, rest, and a few vitamins/tea, so you don’t get sick!

Is there anything you like to do to keep yourself well or to help you/your family get well sooner? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear what you recommend!

Stay well (or get well soon if you’re sick), and I will see you soon!

Categories: Cold and Flu Remedies, Health and Wellness, Healthy Living, Herbal Tea, Herbs, Holistic Health, Lomatium Extract, Natural, Natural Medicine, Vitamins, Wellness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chorizo Fajita Bowl (Recipe Monday!)

With all of the cold weather happening right now, I just love to spice up my winter meals with a little heat! One of my favorites is to have Mexican food although sometimes it can be a bit too heavy of a meal, so I have found a way to combine Mexican flavor and some healthier elements/ingredients to make a tasty meal!

This week’s recipe is called the Chorizo Fajita Bowl and it is one of my favorite quick and tasty homemade dinners (tastes great warmed up for lunch the next day too!).

Here's the completed Chorizo Fajita Bowl with avocado,  so yummy!

Chorizo Fajita Bowl with avocado, so yummy!

Chorizo Fajita Bowl          serves 4-5

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 green bell pepper (seeds & top removed) chopped into small strips about 2 inches long
  • 1/2 of a large onion (I used a sweet onion, but white or yellow would work too), chopped into bits
  • 1 package of soy chorizo (I use the soy version because it’s less greasy, but chicken or beef chorizo would work too, it would be a little more greasy though)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (to coat the frying pan) plus 1 teaspoon (for the rice)
  • 1/2 a can of black beans (1 cup cooked, if you don’t use canned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • basmati/wild rice blend (3 cups, cooked)
  • 1 medium avocado, cut into slices

Here’s what to do:

  • Prep your veggies (bell pepper and onion) and start cooking your rice w/ a 1 tsp. olive oil (rice will take 20 minutes to cook) if rice wasn’t cooked beforehand.
  • If using canned beans, open can and rinse off 1 cup of black beans (if opening a new can, store the remaining beans for later use)
  • Oil you pan, and turn on stove burner to medium/medium-high heat to warm up
  • Put your green bell pepper strips, chopped onion, and chorizo in the pan and cook till veggies are starting to soften and onions begin to look translucent
  • Add red pepper flakes and garlic powder to the frying pan
  • Add black beans to frying pan and turn heat down to low to keep mixture warm
  • Check rice and turn off if it’s cooked thoroughly, let stand for 5 minutes.
Lovely Basmati and wild rice blend I got from Trader Joe's!

Lovely Basmati and wild rice blend that I bought at Trader Joe’s!

  • Add rice to each bowl
  • Then top with chorizo and veggie mixture
This is right before adding the avocado, still looks very tasty!

This is right before adding the avocado, still looks very tasty!

  • Garnish each serving with avocado slices.
Here's the completed Chorizo Fajita Bowl with avocado,  so yummy!

Here’s the completed Chorizo Fajita Bowl with avocado, enjoy!

  • Enjoy! And feel free to spice it up more, if desired!

Please let me know if there are any kinds recipes you’d like to see me make or that you are not sure how to make healthier. Let me know what you think of this recipe also in the comments! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great week!

Auf Wiedersehen für jetzt! (Goodbye for now!)
Categories: chorizo, chorizo fajita bowl, comfort food, favorite recipes, Food, healthy foods, Mexican Recipes, quick meals, Soup recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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