I cannot believe that September is just a few days away. August has been a tumultuous month filled with work, travel, and moving. I am now officially living in an apartment, on the cusp of the beginning of my sophomore year of college. It's hard to comprehend that I'm basically an adult, because it's safe to say I don't feel like one. Seriously - I still call my mom every time I have a problem (thank you for your unending patience). Although this year will be the start of a new path, I know it will be a great one that will offer me an insane amount of room to grow.
Before I go back to school and my sister officially moves out (gulp), my mom wanted to take us on a mother-daughter trip. We centered on Portland, Oregon, because it's a very cool, 'up and coming' city with lots to do. The four days we spent there were filled with sightseeing and delicious food, which is a win-win situation for me.
August 14, 2016 • Beauty, lipstick, urban decay
It was a bit shocking when I read the news that Urban Decay was revamping their entire lipstick collection. That changed however, when I actually saw the collection. There are 100 gorgeous shades, ranging from nude to pink to red to purple (even some wildcards like blue!), and come in finishes varying from Cream to Comfort Matte to Mega Matte to Sheer to Metallized to Sheer Shimmer. I think that's everything.
August 7, 2016 • Eat, Snacks, Superfoods
I've mentioned a few times how I'm trying to improve my skin through proper skincare, not just by covering it up with makeup (read: going foundation-free). Something I haven't discussed is the importance of what you put in your body in addition to what you put on it. Superfoods are the best way to ensure that your skin is getting all the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Add a few to your diet by trying out some of my favorite snacks, or by experimenting in the kitchen. You might be surprised to find that you're using less and less foundation, and getting more and more compliments.
1) Blueberry Banana Smoothie
My dad's side of the family owns a beautiful house near New Buffalo, MI, which is a great place to grow blueberries. While visiting a few weeks ago we went and picked some for ourselves (and ate about as many as we picked). Not only are these delicious for a quick snack, but they contain antioxidants which are proven to help your skin look more young and fresh.
These little guys are great in tons of recipes like muffins, salads, or DIY popsicles, but my favorite of all is a simple blueberry banana smoothie. When I first tried it out I was apprehensive about those two together, but the combo is delicious. For even better results, freeze the blueberries that you're planning on blending. Add a couple of ice cubes if you want the mixture to be thinner, and add some plain yogurt if it needs thickening. Bonus points for adding other superfoods like chia seeds, spinach, or kale. Double bonus points if you top it with extra berries, bananas, and even some coconut shreds.
2) DIY Trail Mix
I'm a bit wary of dried fruit, but I attempt to eat it now and then because it's so great health-wise. Just a few pieces a day can do wonders for your digestion if - TMI - you're a little backed up. Goji berries, a chewy and slightly sweet dried fruit, are especially wonderful because they're packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and amino acids. All those add up to create glowing, youthful skin - without any makeup at all.
These versatile berries can be used in tons of recipes. Try them out in DIY granola bars, yogurt, smoothies, or even healthy cookies as a substitute for raisins. Something especially fun is creating your own trail mix. Start off with lots of nuts, like almonds, walnuts, and cashews, then add your goji berries and some other dried fruit, like raisins or cherries. Amp up the health aspect by adding sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Finish off with something sweet, like dark chocolate or peanut butter chips. Create snack-sized bags of this for quick & easy, grab & go snacks.
3) Matcha Nice Cream
I've heard over and over how tea can be amazing for weight loss, but I've never quite found it appealing. Now however, there is a new superfood that I'm a bit unfamiliar with: Matcha green tea. This goes beyond the powers of normal tea by providing your body with antioxidants as well as helping with weight loss, reducing stress, and detoxifying.
The cool thing about matcha is that it can be brewed normally, or even made iced, but it can also be added to things like smoothies, lattes, pancakes, and ice cream. I've been loving the "nice cream" recipes that are so popular lately, and after searching Pinterest I found a ton that included matcha. Most of them are a pretty simple combination of frozen bananas, matcha, and some sort of condensed or coconut milk. Blend 'em all up in a food processor and if needed, throw it in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving.
4) Peanut Butter Banana Toast
Chia seeds have been on my radar for a good few years now, and are wonderful for you because of the antioxidants (younger-looking skin), omega-3 fatty acid (helpful for your heart), fiber (great for the digestive system), and protein (will give you a kick of energy). Because of these benefits, chia seeds are the perfect supplement to any breakfast.
Try them out in oatmeal, smoothies, or even chia seed pudding. The consistency will take a bit of getting used to, but once you've had them a few times, you'll forget they're even there. My favorite way to incorporate chia seeds into my diet is by sprinkling them on top of toast. Grab a couple pieces of whole wheat bread, spread on your favorite nut butter (I'm partial to natural PB, it's how I was raised), and top it with some banana slices and a dousing of cinnamon. Finally, add your superfood seeds and enjoy your healthy & delicious breakfast.
5) Chocolate Energy Balls
Everyone needs a bit of chocolate in their life. I will confess that I cannot only eat healthy things all day long, and find myself needing a treat every so often. Cacao nibs are great way to do that guilt-free. Each tiny piece has both fiber and iron, which helps with overall digestion and provides important nutrients for your body. Plus, they taste delicious and don't have the processed feeling of regular chocolate.
They're great to snack on without anything else, but spice things up a bit by using these instead of regular chocolate chips in any baking recipe. One way I'd love to try these is in a no-bake energy ball recipe. There are tons of variations, but the gist is mixing together oats with any healthy food you can think of - chia seeds, hemp powder, matcha, etc. A combo I'd like to try is peanut butter, coconut, and banana. And cacao nibs, of course. After combining all the ingredients you want, roll them up into spheres a bit smaller than golf balls, put them in the fridge for a few hours to set, and then have a great pre-workout snack.
Be sure to check out Nuts.com for more healthy food inspo, snack recipes, and nutrition information. And don't forget that you are what you eat!
Have you tried any of these recipes?
What is your favorite healthy/superfood snack?