August 8, 2018

Sitting in my corporate office drawer lays a stack of unused business cards with my prior job title printed across them. They illustrate a company logo and design identical to each person’s own set in the cubicles surrounding me.

Dust collects on them as I forget to pack them in my carry-on bag every time I travel for a work conference.

Why do I fail to remember to pass out my corporate business cards time and time again? Because they are lackluster and they do not truly represent who I am or what I do for the company for which I work.
 

One professional step that I had not yet taken was to create business cards for my personal, entrepreneurial skills. My career path deserved a striking representation of my accomplishments and capabilities in the business world, branding my own style.
 

I tried out a platform new to me called Basic Invite. They recently added business cards to their printing repertoire, and they invited me to try out the fresh designs they offer on a set.
 

I knew I wanted my business card to reflect the branding of my resume, but I do not label myself as a designer and I needed helpful choices to get me started.
 

The variety of choices provided a lot of design ideas without being too overwhelming. I thought it clever that Basic Invite offers both horizontal and vertical business cards. The vertical business cards looked ideal for photographers, because you can print an entire side with a full-width photo.
 


Out of all of their beautiful business cards, I went with a front and back design of a clean, minimalist style.
 

As I began personalizing the design of my business cards, the interface reminded me a lot of Canva’s simplified look and feel. It was extremely easy to customize my business cards, even on a mobile device!
 

One feature I immediately noticed was the wide range of color options. It seemed almost unlimited. I was able to match the distinctive mix between pale mint green and sage color on my resume to the colors available on Basic Invite.
 

The instant previews of the front and back of my business card allowed me to create exactly what I wanted down to the last detail and visualize my design as I worked in real time.
 


I did feel a bit restricted with some of the capabilities. You cannot stray too far out of the box of the design choice you selected. I wish you could at least add basic shapes to the background of the business cards, as I would have created a diagonal from the bottom left to the top right corner of my card and filled in one side in with my pale green color for a subtle effect.
 

A lot of the business cards, including the design I chose, incorporate a space for a professional headshot photograph. I found this personal touch appealing, especially for entrepreneurial, theatrical, or real estate agent business cards.

I tested out two designs, partially because I was having a bit of fun playing pretend designer. I ordered them both on July 24th with an expectation of an August 6th arrival date. They were delivered to my doorstep on July 30!
 







 








 

While I did not take advantage of their custom samples option, Basic Invite offers the service of sending you a printed sample of your invitation or business card before completing your final order. You can know exactly what the finished product’s design and quality of the paper looks like before you are even required to place your order. This could be extremely valuable to a bride planning her wedding to find the perfect effect to match her vision.
 

One of the most tedious tasks of planning a wedding that I experienced is gathering up addresses for your invites. Don’t be surprised if multiple guests move between when you send out the save the dates and your wedding invitations, too.
 

Basic Invite offers an address capturing service for you eliminate the time suck of obtaining those mailing addresses. They provide a link for you to share on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request invitees’ addresses, which are then stored in your customer account. Select the proper addresses during your design process and voila! Mailing made simple. Basic invite currently offers recipient address printing at no extra cost for all Christmas card orders.
 

With the speed at which this year has gone, the holidays are right around the corner. Zach and I have never sent out Holiday cards, (Although we did share a fabulous, festive family photo on social media one holiday season.) but we plan to mail our loved ones Hanukkah and Christmas greeting cards this year using Basic Invites user friendly interface.
 

I didn’t add any to my business cards, but Basic Invite also offers foil on selected design. Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold in a flat or raised style. We will most likely add a little shine to our Holiday cards with a touch of gold foil for panache.
 

If you are in the need of an updated business card or want to get ahead of the holiday card ordering rush, right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with c, upon code: 15FF51 on all orders. You can follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter for design inspiration as well!



 

This review post is sponsored by Basic Invite.



 

July 31, 2018

I grew up in a Jewish family with members whom were raised with dinner table politeness and traditional party etiquette ingrained within them. It always seemed to me that the women inherently knew the skill of cooking like the back of their hand. Hosting full course meals came naturally to them.


This caused an onset of minor panic in me when I graduated college and moved into suburbia with my then boyfriend, now husband. We are not traditional people, but all of the sudden we were caught in a traditional lifestyle where I alone felt the pressure to present this "expected" adult version of me on a faux-silver serving platter.


One of the best things about entering your mid-twenties, is that you realize that the majority of the anxiety in your head telling you that you must transform into this new, grown-up person who does everything the "right" way is utter and complete nonsense. There is no one right way. And, we weren't caterpillars in a cocoon this whole time waiting for adulthood; we were already butterflies.


Adulthood brings more responsibilities and expectations, but changing your personality and style and values are not one of those. As a woman, you don't have to fit to a jello mold or cookie cutter shape and your pride and joy in life does not have to be your homestead. It's not the 1950s, ladies. Own that.


Let me take a step back, here. I do thoroughly enjoy hosting gatherings and wine nights and tea parties. That Jewish gene did follow me down the pool. But, I do it my way on my watch with plenty of time to prepare dishes I find therapeutic, not stressful, to whip up and put zero pressure on myself to appear perfect or pristine. 


Want me to come to your pitch-in party? Hell yes! Most of the time, I'm going to Pinterest the shit out of what special dish I can bring to impress and satisfy your guests. Other events, you gotta say, "Not today, Martha Stewart," and hit up the local grocery store deli for pre-made servables. Also, you can never go wrong with a cheese board in my book, which only requires slicing.


Cooking on my own time and choosing fancy appearing but simple to make recipes for get togethers has taught me what ingredients I want to work with, what style of cooking I'm talented at, and what my signature dishes are as dinner party go-tos.


Officially knowing my own signature dishes actually does make me feel quite grown up and proud in my own way. We all can picture and even taste in our mouths the meals we jumped up and down for when our moms or dads or grandparents said they were making them. 


Appetizers and tiny, individual finger foods are my favorite to create and present at a party. I make a mean bruchetta and various mini desserts. But, my signature app that gets an, "I'm so happy you brought that, I love your...," reaction every time (I relish in it.) is my deviled eggs.


Don't be fooled. My deviled eggs don't contain equally piped fillings with a smooth, flawless texture. That's not my home cooking style. I like my deviled eggs with teeny tiny clumps of egg still present and imperfect yellow dollops in the egg whites.


My "secret" to deviled eggs lies in using Miracle Whip for the recipe whether you prefer Hellman's or not, because it adds a touch of sweetness to counteract the mustard. And, to use half Dijon for your mustard for additional flavoring to the filling.


To be honest, I eyeball and taste test my deviled egg filling until I find a balance to the sweet mayonnaise with a slight bitter sharpness of a mustard. I don't want to be able to clearly taste either ingredient; they should mix together in harmony. 


Take this recipe with a grain of salt. (Not literally.) Start off with the measured combinations I have below and then slowly add little bits of extra mayo or mustard if needed after taste testing. Don't make them too soggy with condiments! Sprinkle with paprika for a final touch.


Serves 24 deviled eggs


Ingredients:

- 1 carton of eggs (12 eggs)
- 1/2 C Miracle Whip
- 1/4 C Yellow Mustard
- 1/4 C Dijon Mustard
- Paprika


Directions:
1. Boil eggs on stove for 10-12 minutes
2. Let eggs cool in icey water
3. Peel the shell off of the hard boiled eggs
4. Carefully slice each egg in half lengthwise; each egg half should have the top and bottom of the egg present
5. Use a spoon to scoop out the yellow yolk (this should be easy and slide out if cooked well) into a medium to large bowl, placing the egg white "holder" into a devilled egg serving tray
6. Repeat steps 3-6 for all of your eggs
7. With all of your yolks in the bowl, use a fork to mash the yolk into tiny, consistent pieces like a crumble
8. Add in your mayonaisse and two mustards and mix well
9. Taste test your mixture to ensure you've found the right balance of flavors and add ingredients as necessary so no one flavor comes through more than another (Remember, you can always add, but you can't take away, so be careful!)
10. Use your spoon to scoop dollops of filling into each concave semi circle of your egg whites so that there is a nice round mound of filling
11. Sprinkle on paprika to each individual devilled egg on top of the yellow filling
12. Chill until ready to serve



 

July 23, 2018

Searching for the “right” hotel for your weekend road trip or romantic getaway can be exhausting. It’s fidgeting with a sensitive scale as you try to balance price with amenities with star rating with location.

Zach and I always want to find a uniquely designed hotel, a good deal on the price tag, and a close proximity to night life when picking a spot to rest our heads on vacation. We often find that hotel search sites aren’t the best route to land the atmosphere we desire.

Unless we’re travelling to a resort or Disney World, we search Airbnb for all of our destination stays. Whether you are asking, “Why,” or shouting, “Preach,” it’s because for usually less than a price of a standard hotel room, we get an entire house, apartment, or private room and bath with the style and comfort we love in a home. We avoid overpriced or grimy hotel situations by taking the selection into our own hands.

The best part of Airbnb is that you end up smack dab in the middle of the area you want to be on your trip. The descriptions written by the homes’ host help you pinpoint the neighborhood and nearby attractions, so your radius of driving or walking is reduced. (Addresses are private until you book.)

I’m a firm believer that you don’t truly experience a city or country unless you explore like a resident, not a tourist. Don’t get me wrong, some landmarks and sites are simply must-sees on a vacation. I mean, if you didn’t visit the Colosseum, did you even go to Rome?

But, for the most part, we opt for the dive bar or local eatery over the largest ball of twine display and gift shop. Airbnb fits with that outlook on travelling, because you stay in a local neighborhood and roam like a resident for a week or weekend. It’s the closest you can get to walking in another person’s shoes.

The modern meets vintage look is right up our alley for Airbnb rentals. We want comfort, style, and another lifestyle perspective that speaks to the culture of our getaway spot.

Zach’s and my top Airbnb stays are the little but chic below ground apartment we booked in Toronto a few years ago and the completely renovated and modernized attic space above a Victorian in Denver, CO near all the best bars that we cozied up in last month.

We took a weekend trip to Grand Rapids to visit a family friend this past Saturday. Especially on quick trips such as this, we want to ensure that we are staying at a location close to all the activities we want to do to get the most out of our time. Naturally, we hit up the Airbnb website.

Grand Rapids, MI has a lovely historic district with renovated and restored million dollar vintage homes. Owners of a stunning property called the Hydrangea House open a private room with a private full bath to guests in what feels more like a bed and breakfast than an Airbnb.

We spent our one night in the mitten state (after a few fancy cocktails with our friend) at this home and could not have been more pleased. It’s located right down the street from a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Meyer May House. We were able to not only see inside one of these private homes in the historic district, but pretend like we lived there for a night. Such a blast!

Here is a peek inside of our Michigan retreat (Outside pictured above!):


I adored all of the vintage details still there, such as the hexagon tiled bathroom floors, along with their modern interior design.

If you still feel hesitant to try out this newer digital form of hotel booking, let me calm your nerves. These are not hostels; Airbnb hosts go through background checks, receive reviews and ratings, and more. Look for a “Super Host” certification mark to ensure you’re getting a top rate experience.

The search tool also helps you select if you are willing to stay in a private room where the resident will be staying under the same roof or if you want the entire house/apartment to yourself. We usually choose the latter, but our Grand Rapids stay swayed our opinion on that for sure, since it basically felt like a bed and breakfast.

And, hosts now are so professional that you’ll be confused why this was an economical option and not the star treatment. At all of the Airbnbs that I’ve stayed at, each one had its own system via a code or lock box key to have guests safely enter and lock up. Many leave coffee and snacks for you to enjoy as amenities as well. And, I’ve never been to an Airbnb that didn’t provide a binder or folder of house rules or things to know (such as trash or location of towels) and a huge list of travel tips with places to see and restaurants to dine at during your stay.

Our next Airbnb booking will most likely be a spontaneous one when we need a quick getaway. It’s a simple, cost effective, and entertaining way to experience a city!



 

July 12, 2018

Veganism. Think you can do it? (Spoiler alert: I can't.)


It's been a while since I've taken a serious, planned out, Instagram approved health challenge. A fellow BBG fit fam member tried out a vegan program recently, which I coincidentally follow the program's creator on Instagram already for vegetable based meal ideas.

Post-wedding bod ended up composed primarily of booze, bread (pizza!) and cheese. Natural pooch transformed into a nice little padding all around my belly and hips with an inch of extra waistline cushion that a few pairs of my pants refused to give in to. Enter a weight loss challenge!

Rawvana, a fitness journey for weight loss transformation and self-love promotes an active vegan lifestyle. Yovana Mendoza, the face and creator, truly embodies the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle and conscious diet.

In general, the Rawvana website provides quality blog posts and links to YouTube videos with meal plans, recipes, fitness tips and more. The free value already there definitely gives insight into how valuable her paid programs are for you.

I purchased the 21-Day Challenge e-book for "weight loss and self-love" as she puts it, to reset my body and routine. Not only does Rawvana's programs, videos and e-books have amazing visual production value, but the thoroughness of the program I purchased is unlike any other option that I've tried.

Jumping into a full workout and meal plan straight from stagnation sets your goals up for you giving up. It's truly difficult to start both aspects of health after inactivity similar to how it rarely works to quit something cold turkey. Which is part of the reason why I give Rawvana props for intertwining both without making me collapse.

The Monday-Friday workouts (Yay lazy weekends!) consist of quick MWF circuits targeting key muscle groups with a full video to guide you along if you want. Even 21 Day Fix does not compare to how fast and manageable these workouts are daily. And, I genuinely felt the burn.

Then, on TTH you jump rope for cardio, which is way more exciting than running, but is also way harder than it was when you were a kid. I do stress that you get your stretching in so your calves don't hate you!

The meal plan requires Sunday prep for the M-F week ahead. With the Rawvana full week grocery list, you'll have the ingredients for your weekend meals as well, but you won't prepare those until the day of on the weekend. The second week I did prepare even the weekend meals ahead of time in giant plastic baggies, but you could simply set the ingredients off to the side of your fridge organized by meal for quick grabbing that day.

Yes, I said GROCERY LIST. It's so comprehensive and includes everything you need, no questions asked, for an entire 7-day week.

I find the full recipe meal prep far easier than plans like 21 Day Fix that give you more freedom, because often times my brain doesn't actually want to attempt to be creative with meals and my cooking when I'm trying to eat extra healthy. Just tell me what to buy and what to make and I'll eat it!

Sunday grocery shopping and meal prep took me at least 3-4 hours each week. You'll become real familiar with your grocery's produce section like never before. It was hard to gain the motivation for the long cooking fest, but it was well worth it. You don't have to prepare or think about anything during the week! It helps make the lifestyle change less drastic.

Pro of Rawvana challenge meals: night drinks! Right when I craved a late night snack around 8:30 PM or 9:00 PM, I whipped up the daily night drink. These are almond milk based creations, from chai to chocolate, that you mix and heat for a cozy and fulfilling night routine to finish off the successful day.

The challenge succeeds in promoting the Rawvana mission of a transformative healthy lifestyle. There are not only workout videos if you prefer working out through that medium, but also a night routine video to encourage you to treat and take care of yourself to lead a positive life.

Con of Rawvana challenge meals: too much tomato and onion. A vegan friend of mine informed me that tomato and onion are nightshade plants, so if eaten in excess they can cause fatigue and headaches. I’ve heard of people having digestive issues with onions as well. My friend suggested switching out tomato and onion for produce such as mushrooms, radishes, broccoli, celery, or carrots.

I definitely experienced fatigue and a slight headache the first week. Keep in mind, I did cut meat, eggs and dairy out cold turkey for this, which means some of my fatigue and headache could be caused from a lack of B12. I consulted a second vegan friend about a weird vision issue I experienced one day alongside the fatigue and ache behind my left eyebrow/temple area.

When I looked up symptoms of a lack of B12 as she suggested, I immediately realized it was the cause of my discomfort. My goal was health, not permanent veganism, so I added eggs back in to some of the meals (Sorry, vegans!) such as turning the week 1 veggie quinoa dish into an omelette to get my system back up and running happily.

Morale of the story: listen to your body!!


If I could change anything about the program, it would be for the meals to have a bit more variety in veggie ingredients (i.e. substitutes for tomato and onion) and for the meals with a similar base ingredient to be switched around or interchanged within the weeks more. The first week, for example, consisted of mostly bean based dishes while the second used mostly mushrooms all week. If you happen to not be a huge fan of either of those foods, it can make a week especially difficult to get through when it's back to back recipes using that ingredient.

Meal prepping for week 2 is the hardest, because it's quite difficult to get in the mindset to spend 4 hours preparing meals when you could so easily quit not even halfway through the challenge. I encourage you to make dietary tweaks if necessary to complete the program, but to push onward!!

To be honest, the second weekend in I was in an Indian and American wedding, so I did not complete this challenge fully. I couldn't bear passing up authentic Indian cuisine... and maybe a couple glasses of wine. So, I don't have any transformation photos to share with you.


I can relay to you that within the first week, my stomach/gut felt better than it has in quite a long time. This challenge helped bring a balance back and fill my body with nutrients. Bloating, discomfort and IBS symptoms ceased or seriously improved.

Another reason I recommend attempting challenges such as this is to learn more about food and how it can serve you. Diets don't work, but trying out different programs can help us learn what we like and what works for our lifestyle.

Healthy food does not have to be complicated or boring. Learn your fruits, veggies, spices and options! It makes cooking and thinking up recipes a no brainer!



 

July 2, 2018

Who doesn't love a good spa day?! Pampering myself with new soaps, lotions, or a bubble bath has always been a top self care routine for me, even since I was only in the single digits and purchased body wash with glitter in it. Thanks, 90's.

Aside from eyeliner and mascara, I've never worn much makeup; I like my look clean and simple with a vintage eye. I'd rather spend 45 minutes in the shower with steam and a new lathery bath product than in a mirror.

Recently, I've had the urge to simplify my routine even further. I'm not a morning person, (#butfirstcoffee) so fussing around with my liquid eyeliner each morning before work finally put me at my breaking point this summer. 

My makeup application has remained consistent since about the sixth grade. My skin is even and clear (Thanks, genetics.) so I've never worn foundation or full-face makeup on the daily. But, the products I do use, I feel that I can't live without. Even in college, while other girls left their dorms in Uggs, sweats and bare faced, I couldn't do it. I needed my winged liner, concealer, and mascara. Did I mention eyeliner? 

Partially from the natural insecurities of being a woman and partially from wanting to appear at my best and not tired eyed all the time, I literally have always felt anxiety about leaving the house without my top lid eyeliner. Then, I had a morning one weekend when I stared hard at myself in the mirror (You know those existential moments.) and thought to myself, "Who the hell am I trying so hard to impress?"

I already impress myself every day by waking up in the morning and working my tail off. I genuinely do love my own face (Ladies, say this to yourself more often, please!) and it's not a part of my body that I feel insecure about, so why am I so paranoid about how much product is on it?

We all mostly love getting glitzed and glammed up for fancy evenings or nights out. But, if your biggest fear of why you pound on the makeup daily is so people don't comment on if you're tired or feeling okay, shake that shit off! Your beautiful and that fear and those comments will fade.

As a fashion-holic, I've already curated my wardrobe to be the neutral colors (Black on black on black.) and sleek, minimalist pieces I feel comfortable and chic in to set-out to grab each morning. It was time for me to do the same for my face.

I cut the eyeliner. That's right. After 15 years of regular application, I set that black liquid aside for dressing up and occasions only. It has exited the building of my daily routine. And, it felt so good! That's 15-20 minutes of my morning added back in for a relaxing breakfast. No more uncomfortable moments itching my eye in front of my work computer screen. No more panicking at lunch that the sun will make my eyes water the the wing bleed. I am over it and my productivity is the better for it.

It's the little things in life. In case you're wondering about what products I do regularly use in my self care routine to feel fresh faced, here's the line-up:

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eyeliner

Now for only special occasions.









Covergirl Lashexact Mascara

I still don't leave home without this. No clumps, long lashes.




 

Covergirl Concealer

For those lovely genetic bags under my eyes.












Covergirl Clean Powder
Also never leave home without; the extra ivory shade.












Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream
For moisturizing; tips from my friend Lucas.












Kiehl's Cucumber Face Wash

Should use this more often, but it's in my shower at least











 


Bath & Body Works "sleep" Products
The body wash and lotion are always in my stock for night-time self care. (Normal body wash: Dove)







 





Sally Hansen Creme Hair Remover for Face
Confession: I don't wax my eyebrows; I attack the middle with this monthly.







Sometimes, self-care is about simplifying. Minimalize your daily grind. Fall in love with your natural face and your personal style.

Take a look at your getting ready routine. If you honestly find joy in applying makeup and trying out new looks and palettes, go for it! That just isn't me, but it could be you. Figure out what you do for yourself and discover maybe what you're doing more for other people around you. Find these pockets of added stress that don't actually make you extra and cut it out!




 




 

June 26, 2018

“Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving”.

Albert Einstein gave that advice to his son in 1930, but how much more relevant is it to families today? With recent data showing that kids spend over 4.5 hours a day on screen media, the world facing an obesity crisis, and kids and teens reporting higher anxiety levels than ever, could the simple pleasure of a family bike ride be just the antidote we need?  Movement is one of the best forms of self care to energize and refresh our bodies and minds; imagine applying that not only to yourself but to your loved ones too.  What a great gift.
 

Get active

Nearly 1 in 5 children is obese, according to CDC figures.  This is a crisis not just for the economy and healthcare system, but for childhood in general.  Kids are growing up too heavy to enjoy their bodies and all the amazing things they can do, let alone storing up all kinds of health problems for the future.
Encouraging everyone to get out for a bike ride is a great way to get them active and to blow away the cobwebs that can make us all feel stressed or anxious. You could even involve them in choosing the right bike and helmet so that they feel excited and part of the process from the beginning.
 

Get connected

Ironically, putting down phones and tablets is your family’s very best chance of getting connected.  In a 24/7 culture where people are always contactable, there is something deliciously idyllic about being offline for a while with only the family unit to talk to.  For younger children, it’s a great opportunity to chat about the day; you’ll get a lot more than the usual shrug at the school gate. Got a grumpy teenager who doesn’t talk?  Let them be.  After a while pedaling beside you, hearing your encouragement or just feeling the breeze in their face, the chances are they’ll crack a smile despite their grumpiness.  


A simple family bike ride can be a great joy.  Keeping everyone moving and away from screens will boost your family’s physical and mental health; and it’s easy to spot the results when you get home and see the smiles.  Who knows, you might start local and eventually find yourselves going on amazing journeys to take in breathtaking views together. Encourage your family to saddle up for a great new adventure.

June 18, 2018

There’s nothing like mountains, drinks and a few vacation days with your partner and best friend. Zach and I haven’t been on a trip together since the honeymoon back in October, so we were beyond ready for our Colorado venture this past week.
 

We may be newlyweds, but these lovebirds have lived together for four years; we aren’t total newbies. And, when you know each other as well as we do and most of the ground feels like it’s been covered, you have to seek out adventure and take a second look to learn more about your partner and light that spark.
 

Our Colorado trip was all about spontaneity (We didn’t plan a specific time for anything! Who am I?!) and bringing us even closer together through young-at-heart escapades.
 

We managed to drink AND wake up early for brunch and trailblazing. It was magical. The vibes in Denver, Colorado felt freeing and comforting at the same time. The hipster/punk/outdoorsy style of CO would require even me to up the wardrobe game.
 

Zach and I were shocked at how many more people were outside and running around bars and shops at all hours of the day and night. We definitely both caught ourselves wishing Indy was so lively.
 

Thanks to our exploration and a little help from our friends, we visited a handful of must see places. We highly recommend our experience to anyone and everyone.
 

STAY

  • Airbnb on Lincoln St.! Literally the cleanest Airbnb ever with a cozy, super modern feel in a renovated attic space of an old Victorian. It’s walking distance from the bars on Broadway and a mere 10-15 minutes from everything else. The hosts included great amenities like Netflix and travel tips. Wish we could’ve moved in permanently! (No joke.)


BREAKFAST

  • Snooze AM Eatery Mid-century themed diner with almost too many options to choose from for breakfast. Dubbed the best breakfast place in town by multiple friends of ours. There are at least three different locations in a small radius, so I think they were right. For Indy folks, it felt like a larger scale Good Morning Mamma’s.

  • The Universal Our last breakfast of the trip turned out to be a delicious and hearty Southern-style surprise. Perfect level of sweetness lattes and hearty breakfasts for the traditional and fancy morning eaters. Zach stuck to biscuits and gravy while I savored the cornbread rancheros dish.

  • VooDoo Doughnuts You’ve heard of this place at least, right? We got an M&M topped donut and an Oreo peanut butter donut. But hey, there’s fruit loops and bacon and marshmallow toppings, too! You never thought you needed a pretty donut until now.


BEER

  • TRVE Badass metal bar complete with skulls and pagan artwork. We weren’t in love with the beers we tried, but would definitely go back simply for the atmosphere.

  • Baer Brewery Good place to try a unique brew on the fly. Wish I would’ve gotten a flight instead of the sour I didn’t quite finish.

  • Coors Brewery Tour We didn’t get to stop by Coors because neither of us are a huge fan of the beer, but it is a Colorado homegrown staple, so we’ll probably visit the next time around.

  • Stem Ciders Not beer, but oh well, it fits. Zach doesn’t even like ciders and he thoroughly enjoyed their hoppy drink. So refreshing and crisp. It’s so rare to find a cider bar, so this was a treat. And, they even have flights!


DRINKS & EATS

  • The Hornet Fantastic selection of beers, (Denver Beer Co.’s Graham Cracker Porter!) chill staff and a menu to rave about. It looks a bit standard at first reading glance, but the presentation and quality of the food is distinctive.

  • City O' City We weren't looking for a vegetarian restaurant, but we found one! I wanted to steal the outfit of every single waitress in the place. (Shorts and tights and Vans, summer dresses and tennies, yes please!) The drinks paired pleasantly with our cheese plate and poutine. Happily surprised by this finding.

  • View House Why don’t we have one of these?!? The apps were expensive for what you get, but still delicious with a legit selection of beers. But, the best part was the actual venue. They have a giant projector playing movies, a rooftop bar, little sit-down cabanas down stairs and a massive line of cornhole games set-up. We would definitely find ourselves here on a Friday night quite often if we lived in Denver

  • Illegal Pete’s Zach’s top choice, which we visited two and almost three times. Of course it’s a Mexican eatery. Creamy queso, fresh to order Mexican menu and solid drinks.

  • Historic Ale House We only popped in to see the aesthetic of the bar space and the rooftop bar. Weren’t too thrilled about the drink choices on the menu, but this spot definitely has a great view of the Broadway bar strip.

  • Pie Hole We were drunk. We needed pizza. This place was heaven on a slice.

  • Colorado Mountain Brewery Not only did we rest our tired legs from a day of walking in the heat with a cold brew and quality meals, but this brewery was renovated from an old train station. The wood beams and stone walls are all original to the 1800s building. Needless to say, we loved the history and the brewery selection they had to offer.


SITES

  • Garden of the Gods Ideal for viewing the stunning landscape and rock formations of Colorado without doing any serious hiking. You’ll be surrounded by red rocks and an adventurous vibe.

  • Denver Art Museum A bit smaller than we thought once we roamed around inside, but still a superior collection of artwork and pieces. I definitely found myself enjoying the modern or contemporary artwork far more than I do with the contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA).

  • Red Rocks Amphitheater How could we not see this? Seeing a concert at Red Rock is still on our bucket list, but being able to soak up the view in the stands and even get on the stage is worth the visit regardless of a show.

  • Downtown Colorado Springs I would say this is a typical, cutesy old downtown to visit, but inside a lot of the shops and items they were selling were fairly modern. The area is kept up well to still have the old fashioned charm without the flakey, faded paint and overly cracked sidewalks.

  • Union Station One of my favorites because of the vintage feel, naturally. We sipped cocktails in the bar for people waiting for their transportation to arrive. Another fantastic example of how Colorado restores their old properties extremely well and modernizes them enough to look chic and appealing without damaging the history and authenticity.


The vaca literally turned out perfect and we hit up almost every place on our list and places that our friends suggested. There’s definitely more to do out there than even we did, so do your research still if you’re traveling to Denver anytime soon! Check out my Instagram for a look book of most of the places listed above. :) We scratched a pretty good surface and hope to visit again in the near future.



 

June 8, 2018

Has your brain been bouncing around the idea of starting up a form of digital media?

Whether it’s a YouTube channel, a website, a podcast, or something completely different, then I have one question for you: what are you waiting for?

I’ve sensed a lot of fear out there from people who think that they can’t do what they are seeing online, from myself included even a mere couple years ago. (Spoiler alert: you’re wrong; you can do anything any other human is doing, too.)

While I still love the old fashioned face-to-face interaction and hand-written letters in the mail, there’s no doubt that the most impactful way to reach people is online. 

The internet can also serve as a fantastic space to spread your imaginative wings and try out new forms of creative media. The options are limitless, but I’ve noticed that many people still don’t even know where to start or what they’d even be decent at online.

As a digital marketing nerd, I’ve taken a stab at most online channels and media. The best way you can know what mediums you want to work in is to try them all out. My top faves include:
-    Blogging (obviously) and website building
-    Instagram: @mallory.blayne
-    Podcasts – Maybe check out Sibling Sci-Fi Stories or B*tch Prints if you have a sec and let me know if I should invest time in those… maybe? :)

My husband and I even tried out live streaming on Twitch a couple years back. It consisted of mainly him playing PC video games (Although, there’s a pretty sweet stream of me playing Reign of Kings tipsy and owning that throne.) while I made snacks and talked to people in the chat. But, we got too exhausted and lazy after work to interact with other humans every day, even online. #Ambivert.

Digital media falls under the creative category, so you should think about it as an artist would think about their work. A painter rarely picks up a brush for the first time without ever have touching another physical form of expression and knows immediately that they want to work in oils above all other paints. 

In college, having access to the Adobe Creative Suite provided me with the opportunity to trial and learn the basics of graphic design, videography, photography, editing and photo manipulation, audio recording, and more.  Even if you don’t have such a robust application at your fingertips, the internet offers plenty of opportunity to dabble for free.

Anyone can hop on Squarespace or Wix and build a website. Create a basic video using whatever application you can get your hands on and toy around with the editing. Launch social media profiles and test out content on the various platforms for fun. 

The best part is that the internet is an unlimited resource for knowledge. You can Google how to do almost anything. Watch tutorials on how to use your applications or ways to create the media you want to via YouTube or an online course website. Teach yourself!

Powerful tools are out their waiting for you. And, you can learn anything if you truly want to expand your skills and creativity.


 


 

April 20, 2018

With almost 20% of American women involved in sports or exercise every day, it’s essential that post-exercise nutrition is effective and healthy. There are lots of post-workout favorites we can enjoy, but getting the right nutrition can affect more than just our rumbling stomachs. Not eating after exercise, or eating the wrong foods, can affect our recovery, muscle repair, and blood sugar levels. Even on a packed schedule, there are certain quick and easy foods available for optimal recovery.
 

What are the risks of poor post-workout nutrition?
 

It can be a huge risk to our health not to eat after exercise. Inadequate refueling can lead to a lack of glucose to the brain resulting in low mood and a decrease in alertness or concentration. When blood sugar levels drop it can also cause us to feel lightheaded or shaky. Muscles need protein to repair after exercise and it aids recovery and reduces soreness. A lack of adequate nutrition may negatively affect your next workout and performance, and no one wants that!
 

Protein or carbohydrates?
 

Factors such as the time of day and the type and intensity of the exercise can affect your post-workout choices. A quick stroll in the park does not mean that can indulge in a three-course meal laden with calories. A general rule is to eat about thirty to sixty minutes after exercise so that you’re not eating too soon and to avoid getting cramps. Protein breakdown of old, damaged proteins occurs when you workout, so it's important to include protein post exercise to construct new protein and repair muscles. Carbohydrates are required to replenish the stores of muscle fuel. Researchers have found that combining protein and carbohydrates in the same meal post-exercise can help to restore glycogen stores because it promotes greater rates of insulin secretion. Protein and carbohydrates such as eggs, multi-grain bread, lean meat, tuna, quinoa are all effective post-exercise.
 

The magic of smoothies 
 

There’s no point taking the time and effort to exercise just to ruin the benefits with snacks high in sugar or processed foods. This doesn't mean that you can never treat yourself, but it needs to be a treat rather than a post-exercise habit. Smoothies are a healthy option regardless of the type of exercise and a blend that contains bananas is a great source of potassium and nutrients. A small amount of protein powder can be added for an extra protein boost. Add avocados, kale, or an apple and throw in any fruit which is high in Vitamin A or C to aid muscle repair.
 

What about Vegans?
 

A vegan diet follows the same principles for post-workout recovery and diet but includes plant protein rather than animal protein. It’s beneficial to include lentils, tofu, seeds, nuts, whole grains, beans, and soy yogurt in one's diet. Again, smoothies are great post-exercise nutrition as are multi-seed crackers or bread. 


If you're looking for optimal recovery and the best performance possible, then it is vital to combine the right protein and carbohydrates no more than an hour after exercise. Hydration is essential too. For your body to function well, it is essential to provide it with the appropriate fuel. And it certainly doesn't have to be boring. There are so many post-workout nutritional options out there and it's fun to experiment with new recipes and smoothie ideas for a better recovery.

March 27, 2018

How many days in a row (or worse, weeks to months) do you let yourself feel like crap before you decide it’s time to do something about it?
 

Cheers to anyone who has enough mindfulness, time, and self-control to practice a regular self-care routine without tumbling backwards quite frequently. I am not one of those unicorn, woodland fairy, in touch with the Earth people. 
 

Did that sound bitter? I could be a bit on the salty side, because self-care does not come to me naturally. Most humans in this universe have internal factors, such as anxiety or depression, that takeover the view in front of them before they recognize self-care as a solution to the problem. 
 

Self-care is one of the most vital practices we can perform for our mind, body, and soul.
 

“In health care, self-care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated,” Google tells us.
 

See that word, “necessary”? Checking your mood, stressors, and overall feeling in general on a daily basis changes your viewpoint of the world around you. But, it’s way easier to tuck away self-care behind work, checking our online profiles, hanging with friends, more work, television, yadda yadda yadda. 
 

Self-care is often mistaken for finding brief satisfactions due to consumerism. I adore pampering myself as much as the next diva, but that’s not the heart of self-care.
 

Bubble baths & treating yourself is lovely, but that’s only a possible action of self-care. The true measure of self-care is knowing you need a break in your hustle before you burnout and being mindful or self-aware enough to stop and breathe. That could look like a long bubble bath to soothe your spirit and gather thoughts. But, it can also look like mediation or yoga or getting to sleep early instead of finishing a project that can wait until tomorrow.
 

Self-care looks different on every individual. You have to find your self-care practices that work for your lifestyle, internal struggles, and external challenges. Try on the self-care shoe until it fits and transports you to your happy place.


Get Moving – Take a walk. Ride a bike. Practice Yoga. I’m not talking exercise necessarily, here. You need to simply release endorphins and change the chemicals in your body by moving. I find solace in mechanically going through the motions on an elliptical and listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast to escape the day. 
 

Remove Toxins – This can often be the hardest solution that takes the most effort or self-control. Whether in the form of consumption or the environment around you, toxic substances and people can affect your inner and outer world to the highest degree. You might change up your diet to include less sugar (which causes inflammation in the brain and therefore increases depression symptoms) or go as far as to cut alcohol or a specific person out of your life. I’m working on drinking less, if at all, myself. I never feel good after a tipsy evening and usually have said something stupid over the course of drinking every time. (Foot, meet mouth.)
 

Entertain Yourself Like a Victorian Lady – Others might title this, “Turn off the Screens”. Your brain will feel refreshed, less tired, more focused, and more clear if you can pull yourself away from the habit of surfing the internet, scrolling on your phone, or watching TV to chill out at the end of the day. Instead, choose a different hobby that the average human used to enjoy thoroughly before the modern age. Read, play an instrument, embroider, paint, sing, build, cook or simply listen to music staring at the ceiling to bring your brain back to a resting place. Focus your attention on something that fuels your mind, not drains it. A new book read a month is my goal!
 

Stop and Listen to Your Heart – And, also your mind. Boredom is good for your brain. It helps us sort through all of our thoughts. Soak up the boredom of silent spaces through meditation, taking a bubble bath, zoning out in bed, or heck even starting out a window. Let your mind wander and figure out what’s hurting your mind and soul. Carving out time for my ears to hear silence takes away stressors, calms me, and helps my brain turn off at night when I crawl under the covers to sleep and not to think.
 

Find Outlets and Motivators – Once in a while, it’s an accomplishment to get through the day. When it feels like one of those days, have go-to outlets or resources to help bring your mind back to happy, or at least be able to wade through the ick surrounding you. Listen to a playlist you’ve created, repeat a soothing mantra to yourself, or run through breathing exercises. I tune into the podcast Self Service when I need a calm (and Australian) voice to ease me through the day and explain why I might be experiencing these less than nice feelings.
 

Set Your #1 Goal – Your top priority in life should be making your home a happy, positive, glowing place. Whether it’s literally your physical home or your core home aka your body, you must build an aura around it that keeps it a happy place. Then, you can create a hierarchy of work/life goals after your #1, not before. I try to set intentions throughout the day and check points (like lunch!) to ensure I’m taking care of myself all day long. A happy heart is a productive one.
 

Now, get out there and take care of yourself!



 


 

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