“A date night is cheaper than therapy, much cheaper than divorce, and a whole lot more fun.”
I was trying to come up with an inspiring and motivating introduction to this blog post but I think the above quote pretty much sums up my thoughts on the topic I am diving into today. Don't make excuses, make date nights a priority :)
3 REASONS TO SCHEDULE WEEKLY DATE NIGHTS
1. One-on-one time with your partner is essential.
You may think you have one-on-one time with your partner before or after work, but is that really quality time intentionally set aside to listen and communicate with your partner? Chances are it isn't. It's vital to help a healthy relationship thrive by showing how much you care and appreciate that person. What better way to show that person you care than to give them YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. This means no distractions! No kids, technology, friends, pets, and the list goes on. If you can't set aside 2-3 hours a week for just your partner, then what does that say about your dedication and commitment to that person. Your presence and your time are the most precious gift you can give someone. Doesn't your partner deserve that gift? Make it work, however you can. But make a way to provide your partner with that one-on-one time. They deserve it!
2. You should always be "dating."
Wikipedia's definition of the word "dating" describes it as a stage of romantic relationships whereby two people meet socially with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a prospective partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. It is a form of courtship, consisting of social activities done by the couple, either alone or with others. When I think back to my "dating" days I would always try to make the best impression. I would wear my most flattering outfits, fix my make-up and hair to look like a celebrity (we are all wonderfully flawed though). I would even try to choose the best restaurant or a cool activity to try. Dating brought out my best self, nervous with butterflies perhaps, but I would always try to create the most "perfect" time with that person. Why the heck should we ever stop doing this? Dating sounds freaking awesome! As years pass being together with the same person we tend to get a little too comfortable and stop trying to impress the one we love. We have to keep that mindset that we are always "dating" our significant other so we preserve and maintain our best self. I'm not saying we have to go above and beyond every minute of everyday. But, we can choose one night or day out of the week to really "date" our partner. Is it too much to ask of yourself or of your partner to go a little out of the way to present your best "dating" self to each other? Please, please, please be your amazing authentic self everyday, but give just a little extra for a couple of hours once a week to really preserve that "dating" mentality. It's a win-win situation.
3. Explore new places together.
Date nights allow you to get out of the house for a couple of hours to engage in a new experience together. Yipee! You have the chance to try a new restaurant, see a new movie, or even try a new activity. It provides both you and your partner the opportunity to have fun and let loose together. There are no kids to watch, jobs to maintain, or to-do lists to follow. You can both enjoy your time together doing something that really excites you both. A fun fact, new experiences activate the brain’s reward system, flooding it with dopamine and norepinephrine, or what is considered as the “feel good” brain chemistry. I believe a combination of this "feel good" feeling and having fun together tends to spark romance too, wink wink.
As a closing reminder: Date nights are not about WHAT you do, it’s the EFFORT you bring to it. Be creative and make your partner a priority :)
Always craving a happy + healthy life,
Life is a gift. Wake up every morning and realize that.
What's your morning routine?
Does it begin with activities involving self-love and self-care?
Does it begin starting chores and/or other tasks?
Or does it begin rushing out of bed just to get to work on time?
I have found that having a morning routine that prepares me to be the best version of myself is positively life transforming! By setting up my mind, body, and soul to be in a happy and open mindset, I am setting myself up for a very successful day.
Setting my mind, body and soul up for a successful day means doing all the self-love or self-care activities that fit MY needs. My routine is not a one-size-fits-all prescription. Everyone has different needs and values in their life so it may look differently from one person to the next. What I can share with you is what my morning routine looks like during the week and weekend so you can take or make meaning of what activities might be a good fit for your life. My morning routine has 100% positively transformed how I act and feel each and every day. I am healthier, happier and more grateful because of these small daily activities I do each and every morning.
The secret to health and happiness is found in your daily routine.
Work Week Morning Routine
During the week I am a full-time public school teacher which means I wake up at 5 a.m. in order to be at my school at 6:30 a.m. Mind you that my school day doesn't begin until 7:30 a.m. I wake up extra early so I have plenty of time to get dressed, brush my teeth, put on my make-up (because I can't leave the house without it), prepare my lunch, make my breakfast and possibly greet my doggies in the morning. Gifting myself that extra time in the morning allows me to get ready for the day at my own leisurely pace so I'm not rushed, and so I have the time to make myself feel like a sexy and confident woman, a.k.a self-love.
I feel sexy and confident when I am able to make myself look presentable (hair done, make-up on, and choosing an outfit matching my funky style). I also feel sexy and confident when I put delicious and healthy foods in my body, a.k.a. self care.
My lunch and breakfast are always prepared to make my body feel good and energized throughout the day. Spending an extra ten minutes putting my lunch together and preparing my breakfast smoothie is worth every minute. I honestly can't wait to dive into that delicious smoothie bowl when I arrive at work, yum!
I also can't stress enough the power of listening to a positive podcast on my morning drive to work. This has been a HUGE mindset booster to start my morning. When I prepare my mind to be open and grateful, I know I will absolutely have a great day because I am intentionally deciding to make it great, no matter what. Doing this enables me to interact with my colleagues and students with an open-mindset and lots of patience (which is so needed when working with kids...and adults, ha). I have also found a tremendous benefit in "putting a cherry on top" of my positive and open-mindset by searching for a quick and simple motivating quote to start my day as well. Following other open-minded people on Instagram has helped me to easily find inspiring words or quotes to start my day as the best and most authentic version of myself.
Weekend Morning Routine
The weekends allow my morning routine to be slightly more relaxed since I do not need to commute to work. Yippee! But, I am still an early riser because my body's time clock is programmed to wake early due to my weekly schedule. I absolutely love getting up before anyone else in my house because I have a WHOLE HOUR to myself! I can read, write, walk or just watch the sunrise while enjoying my morning coffee. I find that during that hour I am most creative too. When I am alone with my thoughts to wander with no distractions I have the time to just think of whatever floats in my mind.
Anyways, those small morning activities for me are the most precious moments of time that really give me that extra self-love that I need to start my day in the best positive mindset. Those small moments set the tone for the day and prepare my mind to be ready and open for whatever life has to throw at me. Bring it on!
As you can see, I believe there is a tremendous amount of power in your morning routine. YOU absolutely have to be the one to choose what self-care activities fit your needs.
Some questions to help guide you on choosing those activities are:
What's your purpose in life?
How can you prepare your whole self in fulfilling that purpose in the best way possible?
Giving a little love to yourself every morning goes a LONG way in making your life the best one it can be. Wake up and be intentional of how you exert and spend your time and energy, because it is very precious indeed.
Always craving health + happiness,
Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.
If you have been craving something deliciously sweet to start your morning, then this is a special treat just for you. Impress your family and friends with this simple, yet gourmet recipe. The crunchy, sweet granola adds just the right crunch to balance out the chewiness of the sourdough bread. Feel free to add all your favorite tasty toppings like fresh fruit, maple syrup or even some homemade whipped cream, yum!
CRUNCHY SOURDOUGH FRENCH TOAST
1. Place 1 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over almost medium heat. Depending on your stove you want to toast the bread slowly, but not burn the granola to a crisp, so please adjust accordingly!
2. Place your whisked eggs in a bowl or shallow container large enough to fit a slice of bread.
3. Place your granola in a zip lock bag and crush into a thin crumble using your hands or a rolling pin. Then place your crushed granola into a bowl or shallow container large enough to fit a slice of bread.
4. Dip your sourdough bread into the whisked eggs making sure to cover the entire slice of bread. Next, dip your bread into the crushed granola mixture, making sure to cover as much of the bread as you can.
5. Place the coated bread onto your heated skillet and cook until bread and granola are lightly toasted. Then flip the bread and do the same on the other side. Remember to cook slowly so you don't burn your delicious crunchy granola!
6. Serve your tasty french toast with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a heavy drizzle of maple syrup and feel free to add your favorite fruit toppings.
Enjoy this amazing gourmet breakfast!
Always craving good food,
You deserve to be happy, and you absolutely deserve to eat exciting food.
Are you ready for some chicken salad with a twist?
Let's spice up your life with some simple and healthy TACO CHICKEN SALAD! Eat this flavorful dish as dinner or use for meal prepping your lunches for the week. It's extremely versatile with what you can add in it. Feel free to use red onions, or other crunchy veggies such as celery, chopped peppers or jalapenos if you like things spicy. Let's start this cooking party, dogs included too!
TACO CHICKEN SALAD
*Taco Seasoning Blend
Mix all spices together.
1. Place your chopped rotisserie chicken or cooked shredded chicken in a large mixing bowl.
2. Stir in mayo and red onions. Then slowly add your Taco Seasoning Blend so the chicken is coated evenly. Mix well.
3. Add in fresh parsley before serving. Serve on top of mixed greens, on some toasted sourdough, or with whatever makes your soul happy :)
Always craving good food,
Keep life simple, by starting with your breakfast.
Oh hey there all-in-one delicious breakfast meal! Isn't it nice to only use one pan when cooking? This simple and healthy breakfast is all cooked in one skillet for your convenience. Feel free to add more eggs and kale if you want to serve more than 5-6 people. This dish would make a great whole family breakfast meal, a meal prep breakfast bowl for the work week, or even to serve at a potluck to bring to a fun brunch date! The great thing about using Italian Sausage is that you don't have to add many spices to give it flavor, because the sausage already does the work for you. Cook smarter, not harder.
Let's get ready to dive into a hearty, flavorful and nutritious breakfast!
ITALIAN SAUSAGE + KALE BREAKFAST SKILLET
1. Heat a large skillet on medium heat with 1 tbsp. of butter.
2. Once skillet is hot, use your fingers to add Italian sausage in chunks into the skillet. If sausage is in casing use scissors to cut meat out of casings.
3. Cook sausage, breaking it into smaller chunks with a spatula until meat is slightly browned and thoroughly cooked.
4. Once sausage is cooked, add in chopped kale and stir altogether. Stir and let wilt for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in all seasonings.
5. Add another tbsp. of butter to keep everything from sticking in the pan. Next, crack 4 eggs into the skillet and mix altogether with a spatula until eggs are spread throughout the mixture. Let these cook for about 5 minutes or until eggs are no longer runny.
6. Serve this all-in-one breakfast skillet by itself or with your favorite breakfast side dish, like my healthy MAPLE GLAZED DONUTS :).
Always craving good food,
Food freedom is all about eating what you want, when you want it.
My motto is, if you crave it, you should cook it! Unfortunately there are many meals served in restaurants that have a bad reputation because they aren't served with the healthiest ingredients. But, the good news is we can take these not-so-healthy meals and transform them in a simple and nutritious way at home. Feel no "food guilt" when you eat any of these 3 delicious meals at home.
The Deconstructed BLT
Good news, you don't have to wait until summer to enjoy a delicious BLT. Make it anytime of year or day to eat this tasty nutritious meal. Serve yours deconstructed if you like things messy, or put it altogether and enjoy as a sandwich. Either way, you and your family are going to enjoy this fun and healthy dinner during the week.
Best Ingredients to Use:
1. Combine and cook eggs, greens, onions and season with spices in a skillet in either coconut oil, butter, ghee or avocado oil.
2. Serve on the side or on top of toast with bacon.
3. Use jam or mayo on as your toast condiment. So delish!
Nachos with the Works
Nachos can be horrible for your body, or they can be healthy for your body. Add the health without loosing flavor and cook nachos at home in no time! Choose as close to whole ingredients as possible and you will have a fun meal ready to fuel your beautiful body.
Best Ingredients to Use:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place all nacho ingredients on a large baking tray to bake for 8-10 minutes.
2. Once baked top your nachos with "sour cream,", salsa, and guacamole.
3. Smile and be happy :)
Ordering pizza from large chain pizza places contain tons of excess sodium and ingredients that may not be the best for your body. Good thing making pizza is super easy and fun for both adults and kids.
Best Ingredients to Use:
Don't feel guilty when you eat any of these tasty meals. Instead, feel the freedom to eat really, good, food whenever you want to :)
Always craving good food,
Fast food to me is boiling a couple of eggs, throwing it on top of some good vedge I have lying in my fridge, and drizzling the good stuff all over it.
Salads are such a simple and quick way to get a balanced and nutrient dense meal in your body. Just make sure to balance your greens with some good fat and protein, and you have yourself a very fueling meal. This salad was inspired by my fridge. Yup, that's right. I had all of these ingredients lying in my fridge, so they made the cut (pun intended) into this simple CAESAR CHOP BREAKFAST SALAD recipe. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand to make your own salad at home :)
No food shall be wasted!
This salad is filled with a variety of colorful chopped veggies, such as mixed greens, baby kale, cucumbers and tomatoes. I also decided to add some delicious good fats like avocado and slivered almonds for a nice little crunch. Adding some healthy protein, two boiled eggs, is what really helps seal the deal for your stomach (so you're definitely not hungry after eating this meal). The final touch to make this salad complete is the Caesar dressing. I'm obsessed with Tessemae's dressings because they are made by a small, local company that is committed to using only the best ingredients. If you haven't tried their products yet, I highly recommend that you give it a go. You will not only fall in love with the taste, but the ingredients used as well. Good food = good mood.
I hope you enjoy my version of "fast food!"
CAESAR CHOP BREAKFAST SALAD
1. Place all chopped ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Drizzle entire salad with Creamy Caesar Dressing and some fresh ground pepper.
Enjoy this tasty filling salad anytime of the day!
Always craving good food,
Simplifying your life, amplifies your future.
The action to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary. Why waste your precious energy, time and thoughts on things that don't matter, but instead to focus on what is most valuable and meaningful to you.
There are small actions we can take to intentionally simplify are life so that we may live much healthier and happier lives.
I have carefully compiled 5 SIMPLE ACTIONS FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH that you can begin to implement in your life today. My one word of advice is to try not to implement all of these actions at once, but rather start with one action, then slowly add the rest into your lifestyle. We tend to make the most meaning out of new learning when we have sufficient time to practice and personalize it to make it our own. I want these actions to become a meaningful part of your life, so that living a healthy life isn't a fad but a long-lasting lifestyle.
5 SIMPLE ACTIONS FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH
1. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan: When you know what you will eat for the week, you will save money, time and most of all your sanity in the grocery store and in the kitchen. Other benefits include less food wasted, less clutter in your fridge and pantry, and less decisions to make when cooking at home. Visit here to see how we plan our weekly meals or here for simple meal plans to get you started.
2. Choose foods that are nutrient dense: Foods that are local, fresh and less processed have the most nutrients to supply your whole body. Spend more money on pasture raised eggs, grass-fed beef, hormone free poultry and organic produce, so you can spend less money and time being sick. Better food, better energy! Check out my Clean + Simple Grocery List if you need a little help getting started on what to buy.
3. Move throughout the day: Don't have time or the desire to do a crazy hour workout? Great! Let's practice good functional movements throughout the day to help your brain, muscles, and bones provide long-lasting strength for years to come. Some good functional movements are squats (basically anytime you have to bend down, like unloading the dishwasher), walking (park your car farther away and take the stairs), pulling or carrying items with your back straight and shoulders back (like groceries), pushing (on the floor, wall or kitchen counter), and lunging (make sure knees and ankles are stable).
4. Shop mindfully: When you go to the store, are you going because you're bored or because you really NEED something? Our society is heavily bombarded with advertisements, literally everywhere! Advertisements are thrown in our faces daily through TV commercials, social media, the dreaded email pop-ups that just know what you "need to have", and even our close friends who are selling network marketing items like cosmetics and clothing. Don't be afraid to say "no", so you can say "yes" to the things or experiences that truly matter most. Focus more on what you have and really think about the reason why you want to buy something. Will this item bring meaning to my life? Will this item be used often? Will this experience bring me joy? If the answer is "yes", then buy the darn thing. If the answer is "maybe" or "not really", then rethink the real reason why you want to make a purchase.
5. Daily gratitude: Wake up every morning grateful for the body you live in, the life you have, and the people and world around you. You will find that the more we focus on what we have, the less we will want. Some of my favorite quotes from The Gratitude Diaries have really changed the way I live each day. Check them out here if you need some added inspiration.
Caution: Practicing gratitude may cause better mental and physical health, more meaningful relationships, and a happier life.
If you have a simple tip or action that has maximized your health, please share the health love below. I would love to learn more on how others are living a more meaningful and healthy life.
Much health + love,