Tuesday, January 3, 2017

HAPPIEST NEW YEAR + Are Quarterly Blog Posts a Thing?

I guess this blog is really just less-than-regular life updates.
I try to fill the voids with witty sarcasm and relatable anecdotes, but really, there's not much in the way of rousing content. Like a party mix made almost entirely of pretzels.

Not that I'm letting down a multitude of followers, but I do strive to be a better blogger (she says in every blog post). Maybe one day, when I'm a grown up, with better time management skills.

Onto bigger things...

It's 2017!

My application is officially in for the Radiography program, which means a steady stream of anxiety until I get my acceptance/ denial letter.

OH, AND I'M GETTING MARRIED.



Ken proposed on Tuesday, December 13th. LUCKY 13. He took me to the beach where he asked me to be his girlfriend seven (plus) years ago. There was a meteor shower that night, but you would never have known, because the fog was so dense you could barely see your hand in front of your face. But it didn't matter. The rapture could have descended and I wouldn't have known. 
Yes, I knew he was going to propose. Yes, he asked my dad's permission. And yes, he got down on one knee. Oh and yes, you're absolutely right, the ring is stunning. I never knew such love for an inanimate object could exist. But really, it's so much more than a ring, isn't it. 
We're obviously thrilled. I know I personally could not be happier about not having to call Ken my boyfriend anymore. 
I haven't figured out just how traditional a bride I am, but I'm sure there will be a handful of wedding-related posts to come. 
HAPPIEST NEW YEAR.
Here's to a wonderful 2017.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Everything Has Changed + What I know & What I Don't

So many changes! Where to begin...
Most significantly, the name change. While I did like the previous name of my blog, I had been thinking about changing it for a while now. I've already bored you enough with my aspirations of authenticity, so long story short, what's more authentic than my own name? Along with the name change came a new outfit. I hope you guys enjoy it - it feels more genuine to me and I'm very excited to share it with you.

Moving on.

What (I'm pretty sure) I know:

  • Dogs > people, 10/10. 
  • Red nail polish is universally flattering, regardless of what my mom thinks.
  • I know how good yellow cake with chocolate frosting is and I still think strawberry is better.
  • "Runner's high" is a conspiracy.  
  • Guac is extra.
  • Life is fleeting and the little things don't matter. Also, I'd like to get to a point where I can comfortably afford maintaining eyelash extensions and exclusively wear Anthropologie.
  • I am not outdoorsy. 
  • I wish I were outdoorsy.
  • Birthdays should always be celebrated with gusto. No one is too old to be celebrated.
  • Best friends should be told they're the best.
  • Anyone who shows up wearing all white pants and leaves without stains on those all white pants should NOT be trusted. There is witchcraft involved. 
  • Sharks are equally terrifying and fascinating. 
  • They put crack in Starbucks coffee. *Disclaimer* This is probably not true, but it feels true.

What I really don't know:

  • Video games
  • Am I missing something with the Bachelor/ Bachelorette? Is that show for real?
  • Who's checking if the tools in nail salons are really sanitized... 
  • Math
  • WHY ARE AREA RUGS SO EXPENSIVE?!
  • Is plaid being phased out because I have so many plaid shirts (currently wearing plaid shirt...)
  • Politics
  • What makes a car drive
  • Is there crack in Starbucks coffee?
Let me know what you think.

Be Well,
Nicole

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ketchup


You haven't missed much. I'm here... I'm working... I'm living. I'm still sorting through some of my existential questions from the beginning of the year. Who am I, what am I doing, where is it taking me, etc. I'd like for this blog to be the most authentic representation of myself and I'm still just trying to figure out what that means exactly.

In the mean time, I'm just going to rattle off a few random items on my mind.

This country is in shambles and I hope everyone starts doing some soul searching of their own. I won't use this platform as a soap box for my political agenda, but I think we can all agree that this country (as a whole - all colors and shapes included) needs to cool it's jets. Let's all be less selfish, say more prayers, and eat more tacos. Shake some hands, make some friends, and exercise our patience.
***
Vegan is not quite as easily received as vegetarian. Veganism is met with many rolled eyes and furrowed brows in social settings - particularly at restaurants. I'm still eating about 2/3 vegan throughout the day. Cheese is hard to pass up though, guys. It's hard. I'm not beating myself up about it. It is what it is. I'm trying, y'all.
***
Moose is as happy as a clam. She'll be 4 in September and I'm already planning the party. She needs to lose 6lbs (per the vet), but I think she's beautiful, and we're working on it.

Ken is also doing well, and could probably serve to gain 6lbs. And we're working on it.
***
I attempted to film a video of myself and couldn't utter a single word. It's safe to say YouTube is not in my future. I could watch vlogs all day long, but the second I turn my camera on and point it in my direction, I'm paralyzed. It's not for me, guys. I find way too much comfort in my backspace button.

So blogging it is... Hopefully the old fashioned folks will stick around and keep the written word alive. I'll be here, carpel-tunnel-ridden, with bells on.


Talk to you soon.

Be Well,
Nicole

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Healthy Burrito Bowl!

If you follow me on Snapchat/ Instagram, you probably know by now, I'm not mad at tacos. I love Mexican food, and I love our local joint, Poppos Taqueria.

You might have seen my most recent post:
This is my favorite thing to get from Poppos. They call it their "Baby Bowl". Don't underestimate it; it's a lot of food. And it's delicious. I'll be honest, it's not the cheapest place to eat. They boisterously advertise their locally sourced produce/ingredients, and in the end, that's what you're paying for. It's really good, and the vibes are cool, but it's not necessarily the most budget friendly "fast food". You go down a Chipotle-esque assembly line and pick whatever you want in your bowl/ taco/ burrito/ quesadilla. The toppings are unique and super yummy. But I knew I could recreate this at home. 

So I did. 
Start off by cooking up your favorite rice. I used brown basmati, just because it was what we had in the pantry. Just make sure it's not sticky/ sushi rice, or pre-flavored, and it will probably work. Add about 1/4 cup of lime juice (like a lime and a half?). Add a good handful of chopped cilantro (yes, it has to be fresh). Salt to taste.
I literally ALWAYS have canned black beans in the pantry. They are so versatile and delicious. Drain and rinse one whole can. Heat them over medium-low heat until warmed through. Add 1tsp cumin and salt and pepper to taste. 
You're totally welcome to cheat here and get pre-made pico de gallo, but it's SO easy to make from scratch. Dice two whole vine tomatoes, removing the extra juice and seeds from the center. You really just want the meaty, firm parts. Chop 1/4 of a large white onion (or 1/2 of a medium). Now depending on how spicy you want it, add 1 or 2 diced jalapeƱos. I remove the seeds, and only added 1. The jalapeƱos I picked up were extra hot. Add about 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and add salt to taste. (If you're one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like dirty dish water, go ahead and omit it from whatever you want. I personally can't get enough of it.)
The cabbage slaw is my favorite part. I eat this stuff by the fork-full. Thinly chop one full head of purple cabbage. It should yield 4 or 5 cups of shredded goodness. For the dressing, combine 2tbsp of oil (you can use whatever cooking oil you want, I used extra virgin olive oil), 1tbsp honey, 1/2cup lime juice, 1/2tbsp minced garlic, 1/2tsp coriander, 1tsp cumin, 1/2tsp paprika, 1/4tsp cayenne pepper (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. You can add more veggies to the slaw if you'd like. I like to keep it simple with cabbage only. Red onion would be really good, too. Toss the cabbage with the dressing and add a handful of chopped cilantro. LOTS of cilantro in this recipe. I would let the slaw sit for like an hour if you have the time. Really let the cabbage absorb some of that flavor and soften a bit. It's SO worth the wait.
This meal called for homemade guacamole. Mash one whole avocado (should feel slightly mushy to the touch when you squeeze it). Add the juice of one lime, 1/4 of a red onion finely chopped (I used white since I already had some out), 1/2tsp of garlic powder, red pepper flakes (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. EASIEST guacamole, ever. You can add cumin and paprika if you want that smoky, Mexican flavor, but I prefer being able to taste the avocado.
(Random side note...) I recently learned that if you mash an avocado and put the pit in with it, it won't turn brown! Obviously acidity will help deter oxidation, too, but I thought this was so cool! This guacamole pictured was from the day before and there was NO browning at all! Am I the only one who didn't know about this?! #Science
That's really it! You can also add whatever protein you're into... pork, chicken, steak... even shrimp or white fish would be great! I keep mine meat and dairy free, but however you decide to try it will be so fresh and satisfying. It's the perfect lunch/ dinner for the hotter months (or any time of year in Florida).
Add your favorite hot sauce and throw it into a corn tortilla! Do whatever your little heart desires. You really can't go wrong.


Hope you enjoy!

Be Well,
Nicole

Friday, March 25, 2016

Glossier



Lately I've been thinking a lot about the things I put in/ on/ around my body. I'm starting to feel like I'm not getting any younger, and now is the time to start paying closer attention to the food I eat and the products I use.

A few months back I stumbled on this brand, Glossier. I was watching Tamira Jarrel on youtube (you can find her channel here), and she was using their Perfecting Skin Tint and Balm Dotcom lip balm. Just as a little background, I've never been much for thick, full coverage foundations. I'm pretty freckly even out of the sun, so anything that covers up the freckles on my face tends to make me look... not myself. Plus, if I can feel foundation on my face, it kind of makes me want to rip my skin off. So after hearing the Perfecting Skin Tint be described as very sheer coverage, I was intrigued. I went to their website and totally fell in love. Their mission is just as quality as the products they offer. Their products exclude harsh chemicals/fragrances and are not tested on animals. In comparison to a lot of prestige brands, their prices aren't bad, either. The first item I ordered was the Perfecting Skin Tint.


Their packaging is SO fun. They send you your order in a box with their signature pink color inside. The product itself comes in a reusable (also pink) bubble wrap makeup bag. AND THEY SEND YOU STICKERS. So you can decorate the product however you want. I'm such a kid when it comes to stickers, I freakin love them. So it was love at first sight for me.

Fortunately, the product did not disappoint, either. 

It's a very watery tinted moisturizer. But it does EXACTLY what it says it will. It's extra moisturizing, super gentle on my skin, and just the right amount of coverage to even out my complexion (WITHOUT caking over my freckles). I use the shade medium, but the product is so sheer and blendable that I could probably use dark for a nice bronzing effect. I will VERY likely be purchasing both shades when I run out of my current bottle. To use it, I first shake the bottle to mix the product. Then I squeeze little drops all over my face and use either my hands to rub it in like a moisturizer (this gives THE LIGHTEST coverage), or I blend it in gently with a blending brush (this provides a little more coverage). I let it sit on my skin for a few minutes so it has some time to set. It never gets matte; it sets to a luminous, healthy finish. You can definitely set it with powder if you're looking for a matte finish and more coverage. 

If you are looking for a bit more coverage, they just added a concealer to their line. I will most definitely be trying that out. I'll report back. 

After I used the Perfecting Skin Tint enough to know I loved it, I decided to explore the brand further.


THIS IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE LIP BALM.

I am the world's worst chapstick hoarder. I have tried every brand in every color for every ailment. You could probably find 3-5 full lip balms in each one of my purses right now. But they will likely never be used. Because I will likely never switch to another lip balm again. It truly is the bomb.com. 

(lol wow.)

They offer the balm dotcom in an original scent/ flavor, and in coconut. I obviously went with the coconut because I am obsessed with ALL things coconut. If coconut is an option, rest assured, I have chosen it. You may be asking, "What could possibly be so special about a lip balm?"... Let me tell you. This stuff never stops moisturizing my lips. I put it on and an hour later I can still feel it there. I basically reapply this when I've eaten or if it's been SEVERAL hours. When my lips are chapped (which is always, because my lips are perpetually, chronically chapped), I put this on and it instantly soothes them. And this is probably gross and TMI, but it really gets in there and helps rid my lips of that gross dry skin that ends up cracking and bleeding every time I brush my teeth. And, um, it smells like coconut. It's a dream come true.



This stuff ... is the real deal.

I have the worst/ weirdest/ most complicated skin type, ever. I have sensitive, combination, acne-prone skin. I also have chronic dry eye, so that's something I have to keep in mind when removing my eye makeup. Pretty much everything irritates them. BUT NOT THIS GUY. First of all, the consistency of this face wash is bonkers. 


I tried to capture it in this picture, but I don't think it does it justice. I definitely know why they named it the Milky Jelly Cleanser. The only way to describe it is milky and gel-like. And much like their makeup line, their cleanser is soap free, paraben free, sulfate free, fragrance free, and not tested on animals. It does take some getting used to. I have been THROUGH IT trying to find a good skincare routine for my skin and it's bad attitude. I've spent countless dollars on high end, named brand cleansers that ultimately left my skin worse than before. Typical cleansers foam up and strip my skin of all it's natural oils, leaving it dry and very irritated. This product does the exact opposite. Apparently there are different ways to use the cleanser, but I usually massage it right into my skin, without water, while my makeup is still on. Kind of like a cleansing oil (but not oily and gross). Once it's had a chance to dissolve most of my makeup, I wet my hands and start massaging the product more. After a minute or so I take a damp facecloth and wipe my whole face down. I'll usually go through the same steps one more time just until no more makeup is coming off on the facecloth. Then I'll just splash my face with some water and I'm good to go! It doesn't give my skin that awful tight, thirsty feeling. It leaves my skin so soft and smooth and moisturized... and I swear it made my eyebrows healthier. The best part? It takes off eye makeup super easily, and without irritating my eyes! It's literally nothing like anything I've ever seen/ tried before. It's so unique. And it's $18, which is a STEAL in comparison to most high end skincare. 

So that's it, folks. Moral of the story is... Glossier is an awesome brand with at least three awesome products. I hope to try a lot more of their products eventually. I really don't see them letting me down. They certainly haven't yet!

If you want to try Glossier, use this link to get 20% off your first order!

Until next time,
Be Well!

Nicole