Thursday, October 25, 2018

5 Healthy + Delicious Alternatives to Coffee


Our culture runs on coffee. 

Literally.

 It's what keeps us humans going throughout our busy days of commutes, meetings, errands, and just all that life stuff. 

Isn't the coffee buzz great? I feel unstoppable, my mood is cheery, and productivity soars! And that scrumptious aroma and rich flavor? TO DIE FOR.

Sadly coffee, while amazing, comes with some cons. The caffeine in coffee stimulates our adrenal glands. This means every time we drink a cup, we're putting our body in a fight-or-flight response. 

Dang, so that's where all the energy comes from, I'm preparing to run away from a saber tooth tiger.

Legit.

But no, actually this is bad. Your body isn't releasing adrenaline in preparation for a true stressor (like Mr. Saber Tooth), but in response to coffee.

Overtime, your adrenal glands start to burn out from overuse, known as adrenal fatigue. 

Yikes.

I mean, how many cups of coffee have we consumed in our lives, most of us on the daily?

I'm not saying anyone needs to eliminate coffee from their diet completely, but may I suggest swapping out the 'ol cup of joe every now and then for some healthy alternatives?

I'm making it easy for you, next time you want to reach for the magic beans, try one of these:

1. Matcha

Can't. Get. Enough.

A japaneese tea with 10 times the nutrient and antioxidant power of green tea, this drink is so beneficial for your body. Plus it has fiber and chlorophyll! Chlorophyll prevents anemia and strengthens our organs.

You've probably seen an IG story of mine with a view of my desk and a cup of foresty matcha quietly steaming to the side of my laptop. I make it almost daily. 

How does one make this rather earthy tea taste delicious? Blend any milk alternative (like almond or coconut milk) and an organic sweeter of your choice (honey, stevia, maple syrup) for a frothy matcha latte that's sweet to the taste :)

The pop of green in your mug is just so Insta-worthy too.



2. Teecino Tea

OK, this brand of tea makes a few brews that LEGIT taste like coffee. You may have seen me bragging on them on IG stories. 

It's a dark tea with an amazing aroma. I drink their dandelion caramel nut blend and just squirm with joy at my desk over each cup (can you see me squirming with joy? Is that a weird visual?). 

The best part? You can drink it allll day every day as it's caffeine free!

3. Water diffused with fruit.

Drinking enough water is crucial in keeping us humans alert and productive. Feeling sluggish? You may very well just be dehydrated. 

Infuse your water with fruit for added flavor (water is a little boring on its own in my personal opinion). 

They sell water bottles with built in diffusers, just insert your fruit of choice! OR add a slice of lemon. Lemon has amazing benefits for digestion and energy levels.

I drink hot lemon water every morning :)



4. Cacao Smoothie

Get the rich, slightly bitter taste of coffee in a smoothie! Add a few scoops of this superfood to your regular smoothie. Just make sure you don't have any really overpowering ingredients that might mask the cacao flavor. 

I like to do this concoction:

1/2 cup Coconut Yogurt (or regular yogurt)
2/3 cup Coconut Milk (or almond milk)
Hand-full of Spinach 
Two tablespoons of Cacao
Organic Stevia (essential in turning the bitter cacao into bliss)
2-3 large Ice cubes

Blend to perfection!


5. Chai Tea

This tea's rich, smooth, creamy flavor resembles that of coffee, but packs HALF the caffeine. Enjoy a little energy boost without going cray.

Mix with milk and honey for a decadent treat. Starbucks sells these and they are perhaps the closest alternative to coffee as far as taste, texture, and energy boost.

OK, which of these 5 coffee alternatives are you digging? Have your own? Please share below in the comments!

I love giving you guys tips! Talk soon.

XO

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Amazon Prime Deals for Summer


Summer is in full swing and Amazon Prime has me feelin' fine ;) 

Seriously, I am in love with scouring for deals on this product mecca of a website. The free two-day shipping just seals the deal for me!

I'll cut right to the chase and share my second post on cute Amazon Prime clothing finds that you need in your online shopping cart right meow. Missed the other post? Click here to read up. 


This top is a wardrobe staple that pairs with any high-waisted bottoms including shorts, skirts, or palazzo pants. It's a total ten and I find myself reaching for it more and more. I think I need it in black too now...

It's super comfy (one of those effortless tops that just WORKS) and comes in multiple colors too, check it here.


This swimsuit is obviously cute enough for IG stories, hence the screen shot of my latest beach boomerang LOL. I'm in love with the super stretchy material and high-cut bottoms that are über leg-lengthening. A lot of these style bottoms cut into my hips too much and make for an unflattering look, but not this suit! 

The little tie knot in the front is the perfect touch for this retro look. This swimsuit also comes in multiple colors. I went with the burnt orange and I'm very glad I did! (note, the color is much darker than the images on the model, but I was happy with that) 

Disclaimer: This suit is bootylicious. Be advised ;) ALSO, it's $16.99!! A dollar less than what I listed in the image. Click here to take a look. 


Drooling over this red tie-front dress! It's so comfy and classy looking with buttons all the way down the front of the skirt. The length is very conservative, allowing for the top to be the real showstopper. 

If you are on the shorter side I recommend wearing with heels, given the longer skirt.

This dress also comes in several colors and I couldn't help but buy for my friend Brittney's birthday too! 

Lastly the quality of this piece is on point. What. a. steal. Find it here


I wish I had a better picture, but get ready for the comfiest high-waisted shorts EVER. So much stretch and the perfect wash (there are two options if you want a darker shade!).

I loved tucking in this graphic tee for a comfy, casual look. 

I went with a size medium for more coverage while visiting my family :) Check the detes on these here!

SIGH, I just love Amazon Prime!! Which of these looks do you think you might give a try? Let me know if you guys like posts like these. They're certainly a ton of fun for me to create for you!

Psssst, here's the link to my very first Amazon cute clothing finds post, in case you missed it: clickety click

(hint, I link my ultra slinky/sexy engagement pictures' dress that I got for under $30)

Until next time,

xoxo

Thursday, July 12, 2018

San Diego Rainbow Bachelorette


I had not one, but TWO bachelorette parties. 

To some this may seem overindulgent. But with multiple babes in multiple cities, this was the perfect way to celebrate with all my best girls! 

My San Diego bachelorette was nothing short of amazing. We kicked off the day with a boozey brunch at Kindred, a scrumptious vegan eatery known for their heavy metal playlist and black cat decor (contrasted with gorgeous white marble and pink wallpaper). 





Did I have aesthetic in mind when I selected this San Diego gem? Absolutely.

Luckily the food was equally perfect. I devoured gluten free pancakes with caramelized banana, bourbon butterscotch, whipped coconut cream, walnuts, and syrup. They were ISNANE.

If you aren't sure about vegan food I super duper recommend to give this spot a try if you're ever in San Diego. (years ago the word vegan made me roll my eyes, I had so many judgements and assumptions about the word. Now I'm down for a vegan meal most days of the week and enjoy all the health benefits!). 

Amidst the pancake orders and brightly colored mimosas the girls in attendance took turns asking me all kinds of questions my bachelorette party planner dreamt up (THANK YOU ALISON). They ranged from what I'm most excited about for marriage to...more risqué questions LOL.






After our sunlit boozey brunch we started our bar hopping spree around San Diego. It was so fun sipping rosé in the daylight, surrounded by my favorite women. 

The highlight? Sipping a GIANT pink alcoholic something at a divey, pastel beachside cafe in Pacific Beach. I chased my sugar-overdose with steak tacos. YUM. 

As a fun spin on the traditional bachelorette attire, I wore a technicolor dream ensemble from Show Me Your Mumu and had the girls wear all white :) 

I'm feeling so grateful for these ladies in my life, some passionate entrepreneurs, others directors at large companies, and all equally amazing, supportive people during my journey to say "I Do." 








The countdown is on to the big day! I THINK we are at about 100 days to go, but I'm honestly not keeping track (just want it to get here!). More wedding fun to come! Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by!

xo


Hair by Shawn Knudsen

Makeup by Kelsey Long

Outfit by Show Me Your Mumu 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Australia Travel Recap


I'm back from two weeks spent down under! My oh my is the jet lag struggle REAL.

My dad says that for every hour difference in time zones, one day is needed for full recovery. Do you believe that? That means Chris and I need like 18 days to recover from this trip LOL.

Life certainly isn't waiting around for us to get our sleepy heads back in the swing of things :) 

But back to, AU. 

IT WAS AWESOME. 

Australia is such an amazing place, unique in the country's sense of mateship and camaraderie, and literally crawling with wildlife.

Australia has the friendliest people and the deadliest animals.

Almost everything can kill you! It's actually a running joke for the country as a whole. 

Our first stop was Brisbane, the 3rd largest city in AU, and sort of a smaller cousin to Sydney and Melbourne. 

A free museum was not far from our hotel, where an array of Australian taxidermy is on display (rather creepily), including everything from wallabies to giant furry spiders.   

Perhaps more notable to Chris and I were the food options. We enjoyed a sushi train restaurant where the sushi winds its way on an automated conveyer belt, slipping just under your nose as if to say "pick me! pick me!".

And that's just it, you pick what you'd like from the little choo-choo parade of sushi plates that goes around. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. 

Additionally we came across a magical dessert bar with steaming, decadent hot chocolates, lavish cakes, and CHURROS for dipping or a churro ice cream bowl in which your bowl is literally made out of cinommeny churro heaven (which I opted for with much zeal). 

Our next stop was Cairns, AU, a 3-hour plane ride north of Brisbane. The city borders a tropical wilderness that expands past civilization to the very northern most point of Australia.


It's rumored that aboriginal tribes still linger in these forests, completely cut-off from the modern world, and the smoke from their wood-burning fires sometimes visible above the tree line.

If you're looking for adventure (and those deadly animals AU is so well known for) Cairns (pronounced CANS by the locals), is your place!

There's everything from skydiving and aerial trams over the rainforest to snorkeling the great barrier reef. Oh, and crocodiles and Box jellyfish in the water. No really, there are saltwater crocodiles at the beaches and you are advised not to enter the water in certain areas.


Chris and I opted for the aerial gondola ride and floated our way over the misty forests to Kuranda village, an extremely old settlement that is mostly just a tourist town now. 

We held a stinky koala for far too much money and headed back to Cairns via the Kuranda railway, which sort of felt like a tropical Hogwarts Express, minus the nice witch selling cauldron cakes and chocolate frogs.


The city of Cairns showered us with several light rains during our stay, even though it was technically their dry season. Lizards and jumping spiders (the terror those jumping spiders brought me) littered the walkways and there was one particular tree in town that housed a group of bats, which could be heard making whatever sound bats make whenever you were close to the tree. 

We enjoyed some amazing meals in Cairns and I was thrilled to learn that AU in general is very on top of their health food game. Everything was so so fresh and dairy alternative/gluten free options were abundant. 

My go-to order on most mornings was a fabulous charcoal lemonade from Little Loco Cafe

Myself and the other girls from the Tony Robbins Creative team noshed at this adorable eatery several times during the event we were working (did I mention the entire reason I came to AU was for my job at Tony Robbins? JOB GOALS) :) 

After my work was done, Chris and I took a speed boat out to Hastings reef. Finding Nemo is actually a very accurate portrayal of what reef life is like. 

After jumping into the ocean, rather nervously, I adjusted my snorkel goggles and dipped my head into the water, quite unsure of what I would see. There looming ahead was a vast gohstly mountain sprouting out of the depths.

Our little tour group paddled over, rubber flippers kicking wildly (Chris got kicked in the face several times), until we came upon the reef. I was shocked by how CLOSE everything was. If I wanted to reach down and grab one of the colorful fish cruising by, I could!



The coral was like nothing I've ever seen. 

At one point, we came upon a female sea turtle munching away at the bottom of the reef. She eventually came up for air and it was such a joyous moment just to be close to her.



A little while later our tour guide excitedly proclaimed that there was a shark. Chris and I immediately shot each other astonished glances through our goggles. A shark? F. 

It was a white tipped reef shark cruising the coral highway below and he or she paid us absolutely no mind. "They're highly misunderstood" our instructor informed us as the shark swam away. 

At one point, the instructor became so excited talking about coral photosynthesis in her thick french accent, that she didn't realize the tide had dropped and our group ended up ON TOP of the coral. 

Chris and I both cut ourselves and upon clambering back aboard the boat at the end of our snorkel session, blood was lightly spilling from my right ankle.

YOLO.

Chris was VERY concerned with the cut on his hand, which neither myself or the instructor could actually see ;)  

Despite our coral wounds, the two of us enjoyed a magical speed boat ride back to Cairns as the sun began to set.

It was actually magical.


You might notice our travel itinerary lacked some of the more iconic destinations like Sydney or the Gold Coast. I by no means felt slighted by the areas we did visit!

Our trip to Australia was centered around the two Tony Robbins events I had the honor of working and it was amazing to visit both Brisbane and Cairns, two cities that could have perhaps otherwise been overlooked on a purely pleasure trip to AU.

The recovery mode is real back here in sunny San Diego. I'm sniffling and coughing as I type this closing sentence, but my heart is full from the adventures I shared down under!

Have you visited, AU? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Scottsdale Bachelorette Weekend Recap


Finallllyyy, my bachelorette weekend recap!

Here I am, still slightly dehydrated, and full to the brim with love from three days spent laughing, dancing, hiking, and of course, sipping some major libations with my very best girls in sunny Scottsdale, AZ.

I have to give Scottsdale major props as a bachelorette destination. While it may seem like an unlikely host city for something as iconic as a bachelorette party (with places like Vegas and Mexico as common favorites) it has some serious merit.

Scottsdale has all the charm of Palm Springs, but with a more buzzing nightlife and tons of options for activities!

The weather was absolutely perfect. If we had traveled to this desert hotspot any later than April, I think the weather would have bordered on being too toasty for comfort. Arizona is literally sizzling in the summer (100+ degrees, melt-your-face-off hot). So be advised when planning vacations or events in this desert oasis.

April was just the right time to go!

Day 1

We kicked off the long weekend by lounging poolside at The Saguaro, a festive hotel known for a wild color scheme and gorge aesthetics. There's also one in Palm Springs.

The colors were EVERYTHING. My girls were savvy enough to secure a cabana, so we had plenty of privacy to sip drinks and catch up. It had been nearly a year since we all had been together (we're a group of high school and college besties from the midwest, now living in different states) and the time and distance between us dissolved like a sugar rim on a strawberry margarita glass :)

I DO pity the poor pool-goers that shared The Saguro grounds with us that day, as we were very loud and rambunctious by drink # 3 and the place was pretty mellow otherwise. 

Ariel, of Ariel Miles Photography was there to capture the shenanigans. She's a Phoenix local and an absolute gem I located through Instagram.



 My girls were champs in accommodating my photo taking requests as we tiptoed precariously in sky-high wedges throughout the hotel, posing in front of rainbow-hued architecture and cheersing drinks repeatedly until only watery remains glistened in our cup bottoms. 

Flamingo-clad straws graced many of the photos along with brightly colored pool floats and too many smiles to count. And of course, Ariel killed it. How dreamy, candid, cute are these pics!?

I donned a pink bride-to-be one piece that I bought off Etsy along with my trusty wide-brimmed hat and tan wedges from Forever21.




We rounded out the day by cooking pizzas back at our Airbnb and settled in for some much needed rest. The Airbnb was DECKED out with immensely girly decor (my fave) complete with a 5ft tall hand-painted flamingo sporting a flower crown.

Bach Stash, an adorable bachelorette party supply biz, generously provided a gazillion items to help make my weekend an aesthetic wonderland. From gold and white striped drinking straws, to cute cactus and giant engagement ring balloons, the place was poppin' in the decor department. Make sure to check out Bach Stash for their adorable bachelorette supply party packages that are VERY reasonable.

I think they even have a Cinco De Mayo themed box, perfect timing!  

Day 2

The following day was a beautiful slow morning, my favorite kind. The girls sipped their coffees and we all enjoyed-fruit laden smoothie bowls, thanks to matron of honor Brittney (she's our wiz of a chef in the group).

Once everyone had their fill we donned athletic wear (mine being an all-white matching sports bra and mesh-paneled leggings set from Forever21) and pink visors I purchased off Amazon for the girls.

Have you noticed I like pink? I ordered these little visors and placed them in the girls' bridesmaid goodie bags. They were perfect sun protection for our hike in the Arizona heat.

I just love a good goodie bag :)

We packed into the car and drove to a hiking location by the name of Hole-in-the-Rock. The hike entailed a gentle climb towards a huge rock formation overlooking Phoenix, which, you guessed it, had a ginormous hole in the rock. 

That evening bridesmaid Stacey whipped out her smorgasbord of makeup products and gave me a super glam look (contouring, false lashes, the works!). Stacey has come a long way from experimenting with makeup on my 11-year-old-face (back when we first met in 6th grade) and is truly a master of makeup. Definitely check out her Instagram for inspiration.

Matron of honor Brittney gave my hair loose waves. It felt SO nice to just sit and have someone else take care of making me look good for our big night out! Brittney even provided a white bridal robe to don as I got ready.




A few games, drinks, an all black entourage, and one saucy white two-piece set later (also from Forever21, are you seeing a theme?) and we were ready to paint the town. 

Bridesmaid Laura couldn't bare to have us waiting in the long line that snaked about outside one of the bars. She boldly stomped up to the bouncer and somehow got us all through immediately.

Bachelorette fairy godmother much? 

Next we stumbled onto a bachelor party that had secured a bottle-service booth overlooking the main street. We clambered up to join them and spent the next hour enjoying the fresh air, free drinks, and the view.

I may or may not have ended up dancing on the table. I'll let you decide ;)

It was the perfect night on the town dancing and being ridiculous with my friends. The best part? We were home by 1!

Sorry, but I love my sleep.




Day 3

Tired is an understatement. We dragged our weary butts to the Airbnb's pool and enjoyed each other's company for a last day together. 

We talked husbands, babies, faith, Emergenetics profiles, and everything under the sun.

Sunday morning five of six sleepy-eyed girls entered the Phoenix airport. Three were to return to the snowy midwest, one to the mild South, one to balmy San Diego, and one to drive a short road back to her Phoenix home. No matter the final destination, we all felt a little warmer inside after our weekend in the desert sun.

It's crazy what good company can do for a person's soul. And perhaps even more notable is the power of supportive, female friendships.



A huge thank you to my bridesmaids for putting together such an epic, Taylor-inspired weekend.

Stace - thank you for the super special makeup application and amazing iPhone picture-taking skills! You truly have a gift and I love watching you share it with the world.

Lo - thank you for hauling an absurd amount of groceries to and from the Airbnb AND for getting us to the front of the line at the bars ;)

Lyn - thank you for your contagious positivity and energy all while BREAST PUMPING on the trip (BOSS lady). You made me feel so special I cried a little when we first hugged.

P.S why you so hot mama?

Madi - thank you for taking the brunt of my bridezilla (mostly joking) moments and executing the more Taylor-centric requests. I feel closer to you than ever and LOVED having my sis join our time-honored friend group.

Brit - you envisioned, planned, and executed like only a Chess would do for a Fran. I'm forever grateful to have had you lead this entire shebang!

They truly thought of every detail! 

I highly recommend Phoenix as a bachelorette destination and if you have ANY questions at all about outfits, locations, things to do etc. ask in the comments below OR comment on my latest Instagram post and I will answer :)



Now it's time to adjust to reality. I have loads of travel ahead with my job at Tony Robbins, I can't wait to share my future adventures! 

Talk soon. 

XO



Special thanks to The Saguaro for the free champagne!

And endless gratitude for Ariel of Ariel Miles Photography for the amazing photos.