Taste Off | Would you like some Greek Yogurt with that Tea?

If you know me in real life or have known me, I have been obsessed with Greek Yogurt since most of college. Not even a joke, whenever I visit home, there is Greek Yogurt waiting for me. When I go visit some of my best friends, there is Greek Yogurt waiting for me. I doctor up plain Greek Yogurt with Stevia and pecans or cereal and make little mixtures like a mad scientist. Or I add fruit. SONY DSCMy favorite is strawberry. La Fragola. How about you? What I love about Greek Yogurt (and I am not trying to sound like a commercial) is that it is yummy AND high in protein AND low in calories.  I mean, do I need to say anymore? In the past two years a bunch of flavors have come out but I’ve been too much of a wimp to try them. But then I was challenged. And I don’t back down from a challenge.Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 10.25.17 PMI tried two types of Strawberry Greek Yogurts. I also made my family taste them in a blind taste test because I make my family do crazy things like that and then I tell them: “It’s for my blog!” and my brother says: “I don’t care!” and then the taste test goes on. As you were, people.SONY DSCThis is what people had to say about the blind taste test: the Chobani was a little more tart than was good, more like regular Greek Yogurt before one sweetens it. The strawberry taste was also a little artificial. Although one person voted for this yogurt,

the winner is…SONY DSCOkay, the consensus is that this is fresh and very strawberry tasting and seven people voted for it. I have to agree. I definitely should have started tasting flavors much sooner. There are twelve flavors and some sound incredible…Key Lime Pie? Strawberry Cheesecake? Um, yes please. Especially because they are all 100 calories. #winning. See all the flavors here.SONY DSCDo your own taste test. Find a sleeping mask like I did. Haha. But 7 out of 8 people in my family/friends over Easter weekend, really loved the Yoplait. I was ready to be ornery and choose the other just to be stubborn because sometimes I can be like that but I gotta say, I will be buying the Yoplait in a multitude of flavors when I go the grocery store this week.

Thanks to Sam, Jenni, Reneé, and Khala for hosting Tuesday Tea.TuesdayTeaImage

(Stay tuned for a HUGE announcement tomorrow. HUGE.)

Cheers,

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Thanks to Yoplait for sponsoring this Taste Off. Please know that these are my own opinions and my own taste buds and my family and friends just chose yogurt A or yogurt B. 

Soaking it Up.

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A blogging break is happening today. I have some things to do and most of all I am soaking up time with my family. I just hugged Ava and she told me, “Neen, you don’t have to hug me forever!” Since she also tells me I am the greatest, I’ll take it. Anyway, I miss you today. I hope you had a wonderful Easter. He is risen.

Love,

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Five on Good Friday + Easter

SONY DSCToday is Good Friday and the weight of that is heavy on my heart. And since I won’t be posting on Easter, I want to share something I wrote several years ago when I was in college. I was trying to think about what Christ did for us today and what happens on Easter.

As always, on fridays I am thankful to be linking up with:  A. Liz AdventuresThe Good LifeCarolina Charm, and Hello!Happiness.

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He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,

and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men;

a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief ;

and as one from whom men hide their faces

He was despised, and we esteemed Him  not. Isaiah 53:2-3

This is hard for me to imagine, because to me, Jesus is the most magnificent, the most beautiful. I consider John, in Revelation, who upon seeing Jesus in all His glory on the throne, fell on His face and I know that it would be the same for me, for any of us, that if I could understand the beauty and majesty of Christ fully, I wouldn’t be able to lift my face from the ground. But here in Scripture, and now on Easter, this is Jesus. Nothing about Him was beautiful. In fact, He was so much the opposite of beautiful that people had to look away. Nothing about His appearance was special in a good way. In fact, it was the opposite. Grief was His friend. He was despised–not unliked or unpopular, but despised. Do any of us know what it feels to be despised, really? Yes, Jesus sits on the throne but these words are true of Him too.

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Surely He has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed Him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions;

He was crushed for our iniquities;

upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

Last night, before I fell asleep, I was thinking about these verses. I was thinking of the last line very literally and I guess, at the same time metaphorically, if that makes any sense. I was imagining myself lying next to Jesus and I am covered in dirt. Every inch of my skin is filthy. And then suddenly, on my wrist, my shoulder, my calf, and then everywhere at once, the dirt is cleared and cleaned. And as the dirt is stripped away, wounds appear on Jesus in the same places where my dirt is coming off. Cuts and scrapes and oozing sores until He is covered in blood even as I am sparkling. This image is not from Scripture but as I was praying, snuggled beneath my quilt, I was trying in my small way to understand what this phrase reallymeans: by His wounds we are healed. I am not my own. I was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). And it was costly. And precious. And I don’t deserve any of it.

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Then, as if this is not enough (when in fact, it is everything), there is more. Because Jesus is on the throne. And I have to say as an aside, I can’t wait for Him to come again on that white horse, with a huge tat on His thigh that reads “Lord of Lords and King of Kings” and that fearsome sword coming out of His mouth (check out Revelation, it’s true). And there is still more, because even before He comes back or I see Him face to face, there is this:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our tresspasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all thing in Him, things in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:3-10

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I’ve spent days on these verses before and I am sure people much smarter than I have spent even longer on them. But this Easter, I am choosing to focus on these words: the RICHES of His grace which He LAVISHED upon us. He didn’t just give, He lavished His grace on the undeserving. Can you comprehend that? Can I?

He is risen and grace is lavished upon us! Happy Easter.

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These amazing prints from French Press Mornings:

 

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Happy Easter in advance!five on fridayLove,

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Bringing Back: Snail Mail.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 10.41.24 AMConfession: I love Snail Mail. I love sending it just as much as I love receiving it. Anyone else? There is just something so exciting and special about opening that mailbox and seeing something other than bills. Am I right? So I send Snail Mail because the idea of giving my loved ones that feeling is lovely. Also, I happen to love to write and also happen to be a sharpie aficionado.

This may look like a lot of Snail Mail items but I have been building an arsenal for awhile and I send it out regularly so it’s nice to have choices based on who I am writing. Plus, the card sets at Anthro are really the only things I can afford there besides the best candle in the world (the above cards are not all from Anthro; in fact, most aren’t. What do I look like? A millionaire?)

My mama taught me the importance of Thank You Notes and some of these are used for that. But my favorite Snail Mail is the “just because” kind: I was just thinking about you…Praying for you…Saw this verse and thought of you…Saw this in a magazine and it made me remember that time… Those types of things.

(and there may be a surprise for YOU at the end of this!)SONY DSCAren’t I sophisticated? Ha. This is from Anthro but it is Rifle Paper company about a year ago. This is something I save because I feel like I am back in time when I use it, writing a full length letter on beautiful stationary. I also feel Southern in a the best way. Or just pretty, like I am wearing a full skirt and using a fountain pen. Imagination much? :) Today I would send this to my mom.

Dear Mommy,

I miss you so much. Despite my misgivings, (just like a mama is always going to worry about her girl, a girl is always going to worry about her mama) I am so proud of you and the way you have poured out your life for others. I shouldn’t be surprised because you are the type of woman who constantly thinks of others and puts them before herself. I want to be more like you and I am so fortunate that I have a woman, a mother, who can be such an example. But I do miss you. I loved when you visited and we went to museums and the farmer’s market and were so cultured. I felt so grown up. You (and Dad) do such a good job of supporting me but pushing me out of the nest to fly. I am always thinking and praying for you and also Granny and Papa. I am so proud of you. I am sorry I’m such a sassy daughter. I probably get that from the other side of the family ;) I can’t wait to hug your neck. Just so you know, that is something people from the South say and this stationary makes me feel like I speak with drawl and wear full skirted sundresses to football games. Love you, NeenSONY DSCThis stationary is from SugarPaperLA, a major favorite of mine and it’s probably my spirit animal stationary. I don’t know what to tell you but leopard? I love thee. Gold leopard? I love thee even more. Don’t even tell me that this envelope would not make you grin upon opening.

Hey Lyd!

Girl, congratulations on your new addition! I can’t wait to squeeze everyone (gently). Obviously I picked this card for you because you and your sister (whom I adore) make fun of me and my leopard love and all my leopard pajamas you have seen over the years. No, I do not love leopard because I am Italian. Nor am I on Jersey Shore! (In case that was ever in contention.) Imagine my surprise when you sent me a leopard thank you note…Hmm. :) I also feel the need to tell you that Jenna Lyons who basically runs J. Crew says that leopard is a neutral so you probably want to pass that on to your sister :) Give kisses to everyone for me and I’ll see you soon, girl. And when I do, don’t make fun of the big words in this note. Also, I am in major need of some skin to skin. Love you, Lyd! Neens

SONY DSCI found these in a local store and there were fifty and I have almost used them up. They are great for anyone! But this one goes to someone special because she loves yellow.

Hi Sissy,

How are you? How is school? I can’t wait to visit you and watch Paw Patrol. And make cookies. And play with your princesses and your dinosaurs. You are the best sister in the whole wide world. I miss you, girlfriend. I love you, Baby. Ciao, NeenSONY DSCFinally, the homemade variety.SONY DSCI mean every word of it.

Who else loves Snail Mail?

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How to become a Green Smoothie Fanatic.

You’ve heard me wax poetic about my NutriBullet and my new found love of Green Smoothies. You may or may not have seen pictures on Instagram. (I was just so excited when I started…) But people have been asking me in the comments section how to start making Green Smoothies and for recipes and such. Here is the thing, before I start dolling out advice: please know I am not an expert. Most of this comes from me playing mad scientist and also doing research on my own. It works for me. And even though I’ve tested it on others, it may not work for you. I am not a Green Smoothie Expert, only an Enthusiast.

That said, a lot of you have asked for this so let’s get started. Don’t be afraid. I am not a girl who would drink something that tasted green.

SONY DSCYet some of the recipes do turn out green (some don’t). Just drink it and enjoy the fact that you are getting a ton of nutrients in the form of a fruit smoothie. Don’t think about the spinach and you’ll be fine. Let’s start with the recipes and then I will hit you with some helpful tips.Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 11.24.29 AMI have three recipes for you (or four actually). Please admire the beautiful names I have given them. If there is a ** next to an ingredient, know that the ingredient is not necessary and will be addressed when I talk about the tips and tricks. Also, the order of ingredients helps make sure everything blends well…again, we’ll talk more in the tips section. Also none of these measurements are exact…hence the fact that I call myself a mad scientist.

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  • -Frozen Mango (handful)
  • -Frozen Pineapple (handful)
  • -Spinach (handful)
  • -Greek Yogurt (several tablespoons)**
  • -Water (between a 1/2 cup and a cup)
  • -Whey Powder (1/2 scoop or 1 scoop) **
  • -Chia Seeds (a couple dashes) **

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 11.24.52 AMSometimes I make this as a green smoothie…Sometimes I keep it green free and pretend it’s a dessert. Honestly, the taste is pretty similar.

Green Version

  • -Frozen Strawberries (handful)
  • -Frozen Bananas (handful)
  • -Spinach (handful)
  • -Greek Yogurt (several tablespoons)**
  • -Water (between a 1/2 cup and a cup)
  • -Whey Powder (1/2 scoop or 1 scoop) **
  • -Chia Seeds (a couple dashes) **

Dessert Version

  • -Frozen Strawberries (handful)
  • -Frozen Bananas (handful)
  • -Vanilla Almond Milk (a generous cup) {or dairy of your choice…but try the almond milk at least once}

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  • -Frozen Strawberries (handful)
  • -Frozen Bananas (handful)
  • -Frozen Blueberries (large handful)
  • -Spinach (handful)
  • -Greek Yogurt (several tablespoons)**
  • -Water (between a 1/2 cup and a cup)
  • -Whey Powder (1/2 scoop or 1 scoop) **
  • -Chia Seeds (a couple dashes) **
  • -Stevia (1 or 2 packets)

SONY DSCI made the Berry Good Smoothie for today so that’s the one you will see pictures of. But let’s get to the tips because this is where things get interesting.Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 11.24.13 AM1. What’s the point of the Chia Seeds?

Besides the fact that they are the “new” cool food, they add fiber. You could also replace it with flax (I happen to be allergic) or something else. But fiber is always good to aid in digestion and give this smoothie more punch in that it will help with a lot of things–getting your greens and in this case, fiber. (My dad also commented to remind me that Chia Seeds are high in Omega 3s (the good fats; the stuff you find in fish oil only Chia Seeds don’t taste like fish) and it’s good for your body and your brain. Thanks, Dad.

2. What about that Whey Powder?

First, some people like to add a flavored Whey Powder. Personally, I don’t like to taste it so mine is flavorless. But the purpose of the Whey Powder is to make the smoothie more filling along with nutritional benefits. Again, I am not a professional. But I can attest to the fact that when I first started, I didn’t put in any Whey because I didn’t have it and I was hungry right after the smoothie. Now, with the Whey, that could not be farther from the truth.

3. Which smoothie would you start with?

I would start with the Mango Mama, Pineapple Papa. I started with a version of it. I would also forgo all the Whey and the Chia Seeds. For me, it was purely psychological. I wanted to LOVE my first smoothie not have to force it down. So I tried to make it as tasty as possible. Now I know that it doesn’t taste different but like I said, I wanted to become addicted. Ha.

4. Stevia?

Stevia is a natural sweetener that is plant based. For most fruit based Green Smoothies you don’t need it because the fruit has enough sugar to make it sweet. I only add it when I am using a lot of blueberries, or as I call them blubes, because they are tart. Or if I am using a lot of Greek Yogurt I may also use Stevia for the same reason. (I like Greek Yogurt because it adds protein and makes the smoothie more…smooth and rich).

5. I’ve ruined my smoothie. Now what?

Of all the smoothies I’ve made, this has only happened once so please experiment and don’t be afraid. :) But if you do “ruin” it, try adding some bananas.

6. How do you buy your fruit?

I buy everything frozen–strawberries, mango, pineapple, blueberries. Then I buy bananas that are a bit brown and cut them into ice cube size pieces and freeze them. You could use fresh and not freeze the bananas but I just find this easier.

7. Where is the Kale? Isn’t Kale so in?

Please feel free to add Kale! Just not the stems because they are bitter. For me, it’s just easier to do just spinach with my schedule and where I go grocery shopping and how often (living in a city has its challenges). I didn’t use Kale at the beginning because, like the Whey and the Chia Seeds, I wanted to love it so I didn’t want to be too adventurous. Now, I would totally add Kale. It just has to do with logistics honestly. Add Kale to any of the recipes.

8. My Greens are going bad. Help!

I just did this today.SONY DSC SONY DSCBlend spinach and water. Spinach ice cubes! It’s not ideal because, yeah, fresh is great. But I spent money on that Spinach, dang it. Sometimes you have to improvise. I guess that’s a great tip in and of itself: improvise.

9. What blender do you use?

I use a NutriBullet and I cannot sing its praises enough. It blends everything so finely (no chunks) and is so powerful. It’s also super easy to clean and takes up very little room. Those were my two requirements and it more than exceeds my expectations. I also know myself: if something isn’t easy to do and easy to clean (no dishwasher), I probably won’t do it. This makes it so easy I don’t have an excuse not to. The NutriBullet is also made to drink out of.

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10. Any other tips?

Yes! If your blender doesn’t get your greens fine enough, blend your greens first with some water and then add the rest of the ingredients. My recipes here (aka me being a mad scientist) are in order of how I put them in the NutriBullet.

Also, I like to drink my smoothie out of a straw. I don’t know…something about it makes me feel safer. If there is a small chunk (I haven’t found one yet) it just goes right down. It also makes a Green Smoothie feel special.

Finally, please be sensible. A girl can not live on Green Smoothies alone. You need to be eating real meals as well. I like to have a Green Smoothie for breakfast or lunch (not both) and then as a snack before dinner or as a sweet treat after dinner. Just please be sensible. :)

nutri.jpgSo that’s all I could think of based on your questions and my experiences. Get thee to the Spinach aisle. But in all seriousness, if you do have anymore questions, just ask in the comments and I can answer you there.

Be unafraid as you walk into the Green Smoothie yonder. Seriously. If I can do it, you can do it.

Cheers!

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P.S. Check out this post about what helps me and my ole cellulite.

 

 

 

 

Summer, Swimsuits, Spa,and Tea.

Summer is coming. (Game of Thrones anyone?) And that means swimsuit season. 76a1fa228849bd7a9b3f33f8aeb2f41bvia

I believe it was The Queen of England who once said, “If you can’t afford fancy spa treatments, bring the spa to you.” Obviously I am kidding, although I believe in this maxim. (But while we are on the subject…how amazing has Kate Middleton looked on her trip? And how cute is that baby? But anyway…)

To me…this is a perfect day: It starts with a walk. I know what you’re thinking. A walk. How lame. But here in San Francisco, with our hills? Walks are anything but. I like to get pretty sweaty and hopefully the sun is shining by the time I return to my place with limp legs.SONY DSC

Next up, a nice lesurely shower.

Rounded off with a spa treatment

done in the comfort of my own home

for the a fraction of the price

that also combats cellulite.SONY DSC

Can I just say Amen?

The finale is the perfect smoothie over a good book.nutri.jpg

But let’s talk about this nifty spa treatment. Bliss’ Fat Girl Slim Lean Machine (these names crack me up) is amazing. (You may have read me waxing nostalgic about another Bliss product here) First you put on the cream:SONY DSC

and then you roll this little baby over it for a vacuum massage that reduces cellulite, smoothes and firms skim, and basically makes your abs, butt, and thighs look better. Word. Obviously, I am coupling it with eating well and activity because…all of these things work together to help me look my best. Click here for the science behind it.SONY DSC

(I really need to get a tripod and a remote for my camera so I could show you what it literally looks like when I am doing it but…I don’t have those yet.)

The Fat Girl Slim Lean Machine actually feels the same as when I fed sting rags…like a little baby is sucking at your skin. I find it soothing and I definitely love the results. I’m not lying…it is Tech Spa Approved and won the 2013 Star Beauty Awards. It’s also my buddy.

I’m thinking of maybe doing a raffle closer to summer. Click here for more info and tell me what you think. Would you like to try it?

Thanks for letting me join Tuesday Tea Ladies!TuesdayTeaImage

Above all, stay beautiful; stay confident.

Promise?

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P.S. Check out my post about what keeps me confident about beauty.

Thanks to Bliss for sponsoring this chatter about beauty and confidence and how the two are irrevocably linked. As always, I am too sassy for these to be anything other than my own thoughts and feelings.

Flowers…Everywhere.

Happy Monday. As you probably know, this blog is called Flowers in my Hair (after a song) but lately flowers have been everywhere in the best way. This trend never fails to put a smile on my face and on a Monday morning surely a smile can be a good thing.

Once again, here are some of my most recent pins. I was chatting with a pal recently and she mentioned my pins and I just told her the truth: I am really good at things that don’t make any money. Hah. In all seriousness, Spring has sprung when it comes to clothes and decorating and just the cutest things. I am diggin’ it. (This blog is so on point when it comes to this trend…just check out the header. I’m kidding. It’s an accident.)Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 3.19.55 PM

Truth time…when I started this blog I promised myself that when I had the money I would do a photo shoot for the blog with…flowers in my hair (makes sense, no?) so I have been pinning images like this:0154a77095d7601a2df8961d39a282c3

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…for a long while. But lately Flowers (have been) in Everyone’s hair. Major inspiration. I think it also has to do with festival season starting. Back when I lived in the midwest, I had no idea what that meant so let me fill you in in case you don’t know…Coachella kicked it off this weekend (an outdoor music festival) and there is a whole festival style when it comes to fashion–very California Boho, hippy, fresh, gorgeous. 0ecbcbc7d590265f02bfbfc8a3b5cbc2

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I promise some amazing pictures when I have the money to put it together with Flowers in my Hair!

The cutest prints:571e0d5cb1196c6f791b533a52a5e8fe

via theWheatfield Etsy Shop (I’m obsessed)

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Let’s talk fashion. I saw this pin and I fell in deep love.

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Something about a floral pencil skirt…and those heels. Yes, please. Also love this:6aeee406d2f131c64afb5a40f6e639bd

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I love being a girl.190f41353f44375091f77fc8248bd8ff

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Let’s talk about rompers. I am jealous of all girls who can pull off a romper. Can we agree that it isn’t about size but about proportion when it comes to a romper working? For some reason, the proportions just don’t work on me. However, I do not give up and will continue to seek a romper that works for me, as I have for years and years.

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Okay. I am in LOVE with these gym shoes. There is something so pretty about the floral on a gym shoe. If I was  trying to be highbrow I would use the word “juxtaposition” but it’s Monday so let’s just say these are great.0d77f7860d9902e7193199676149f5e3

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Finally, let’s talk wallpaper. All of a sudden, I am in love with wallpaper. Maybe because I live in an apartment and you always want what you can’t have? What I am really loving is bold florals in small spaces, like here:f5f575d8345daf0ff492e8b6e4d7ac7e

via Cupcakes and Cashmerefe0db0686ebe05ec872f8c7cbd0df802

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I would put that in wallpaper in my bathroom so fast you have no idea. (Any ideas how to make an all white bathroom (floor, bath, sink, walls) more warm?)

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Did you smile? I did. What Spring trends are you loving right now, be it in your home, your clothes, your hair, anything?

(you can follow me on pinterest here)

xx,

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P.S. Check out my post on what keeps me confident as spring turns into bathing suit season.

Simple but Significant |Five on Friday

Happy Friday! I’m excited to share some important things with you today but first, thank you to our lovely hostesses: A. Liz AdventuresThe Good LifeCarolina Charm, and Hello!Happiness.Thanks, Ladies!

This week I am keeping it super simple because I NEED you to check out posts from earlier in the week. I know…it’s friday. Who wants to open another tab? (Are we lazy or what? Hah) But seriously, these posts are near and dear to my heart. Giving back and how to do it in a real way, fighting back against the breast cancer, and being confident in the skin you’re in. I really am just asking you to take a chance. I am not saying this because it’s my blog or for clicks…Some of these people and ideas have changed the way I think about the world and how I will give back.one

twelve (an organization you NEED to hear about)two

How to be philanthropic in your 20s or any age (this honestly still has my mind in a whirl)Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 1.35.28 PMthree

Fighting Back against Breast Cancer (1 in 8 woman will be diagnosed breast cancer…Maybe that seems far away to you…You’re in college…you just graduated…you are in your mid twenties…first of all, women are being diagnosed earlier and earlier in life…Secondly, wouldn’t you rather be proactive instead of reactive? Think of your eight best girlfriends…at least one of you will be diagnosed with breast cancer unless we DO SOMETHING!)8873_590350671009715_338881182_nfourSONY DSC

Confident Beauty. What does it mean to be beautiful? What makes you feel confident? I’m really asking and I really want to know. (Plus there is a really cool product I want to share).five

IMG_0870Dad and his daughters…This is how Ava talks about us now..”We are your daughters!” This was their first time visiting me at SF. We’re in Sausalito in this pic though. Excuse the squinting.

Happy Birthday Eve to my daddio…the best dad I could ever imagine having. If you want to love your family more, appreciate them more, respect them more, move across the country. No but seriously. Life is so sweet even in the hardest of times. I feel like I am watching my dad be this incredible man to Ava and I know he did the same things for me…I could honestly tear up at the thought of it. Meanwhile, it’s the best of both worlds because the more I become an adult, the more I respect him as man, as a husband, and father. He gets shy about being on the blog which…if you know him…he isn’t shy. Hah. But Happy Birthday Eve, Daddy. I miss you a lot and can’t wait to see you. I’m so thankful for you. God has used you in my life immeasurably. #BestDad #Blessed #TheseHashtagsAreAJokeBecauseLastTimeMyDadVisitedITaughtHimHashtags.

Bonus:

Last day for the raffle of the comfiest shirt and sweatshirt that celebrate some great causes.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

So much love in my heart,

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Fighting Back | The Sandra Grayson Memorial Golf Outing

logoOn Tuesday, I talked more about twelve, philanthropy in your every day life, and giving back. I know a guy who uses another word to describe philanthropy and giving back. John calls it fighting back. And it’s no wonder.

He watched his mom fight cancer on three separate occasions over 17 years.

(I hate cancer. I hate it.)

JessMomGlencrestJohn’s mom & sister

The horrible part is that ultimately his mom lost the fight to cancer but the amazing part (the part I want to focus on today) is the way John and a community of people went on fighting for Sandra in her stead. Though she is gone from this earth, they go on, actively doing battle against this horrible disease.

Even better, John keeps raising up more warriors. And one day, cancer is getting its teeth kicked in.

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John, his sister, and dad

After he lost his mom, there was no question that the fight would go on but John named the time and place.

A golf outing.

Every spring.

To honor his mother, Sandra.

580641_590362967675152_362780020_nJohn told me: My mom left the legacy of a fighter. No matter WHAT life hands you, you deal with it and fight back. So he looked at his life and his friends and he considered how he could honor his mother and fight cancer in a way that made sense. He is a huge supporter of the Babes for Boobs (affectionately nicknamed the Babes, these ladies also help John with the event…it’s also the chosen event for April/May for twelve…see what can happen when we are a community of givers? Or should I say fighters?) but John considered what he could do and the man loves to golf.

Even more? He loves the spring, the warm weather, friends coming together full of positive energy, to play together, then eat together, raising money to fight breast cancer, sharing memories of his mom, honoring her life and her fight…by continuing it.

He likes that full picture.

I do too.

970926_721434907017_1420497195_nThis is the second annual Sandra Grayson Memorial Golf Outing and it’s already even bigger than last year with no sign of stopping. John and his family with help from friends have founded an official non-profit (you know, all that official 501(c)(3) and tax deduction stuff) where you can help honor his mom and fight back against breast cancer by coming together on a gorgeous day and playing golf. Or if golf’s not your game, buy a ticket to dinner. Or if you’re not in the Chicagoland area, donate.

8873_590350671009715_338881182_nI love the way John thinks when he says, “(Your) donation, golf ticket, or dinner ticket could be the dollar that ends cancer.”

If you’re in Chicago, what are you doing on May 3? I’m asking you to consider going OR giving (no matter where you are). Or both. You can donate any amount (do you have $12?) or you can help sponsor the event here. This is a worthy cause.

Fighting breast cancer is a worthy cause.

1479200_781872833927_56099107_nFor more information, I urge you to check out the website, like the Sandra Grayson Memorial Golf Outing page on facebook and on twitter.

And don’t forget the raffle…why not make an entry by giving back to the golf outing?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

From one fighter to another,

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The Golf Outing is a featured organization on the blog. I’m honored to share it with you.

How to be Beautiful & Confident | A Work in Progress

SONY DSCI don’t know if I just grew up but when I moved across the country, my definition of beauty became more fluid. Maybe it was when I realized the popularity of an eyebrow shape could be different in San Francisco versus Chicago. But I realized that those images on the glossy magazines would always be in motion, always changing, out with one trend in one with another. But there are other more enduring images of beauty–my mom’s narrow wrists and hands, cupping my socked feet in her hands when I was sick, stroking my hair back from my face after a break up; my nonna’s bright lipstick, watching her put it on without a mirror since I can remember, the way she memorized the bow of her lips, how her lips match mine; my aunt’s freckles and penchant for fun pedicures in the summer; my mom’s perfume…SONY DSC

This kind of beauty is not a size and can’t be captured on a magazine. It’s enduring and nostalgic and though I will probably always bemoan trying on swimsuits, women like this, beauty like this, remind me that confidence in yourself, where you come from, where you want to go, is everything. Confidence roots beauty in something strong and concrete

You probably know that I’ve been on a green smoothie kick. Yes, I’ve noticed my skin is more clear and I’ve gone down a few pounds but I feel good. I’m eating well, moving and shaking, living a healthier life style that has me more confident become I just feel good. It’s enough to put an extra pep in a girl’s step. So is this:

Living a healthy lifestyle is a priority right now but I am all about the little things that are quick and easy. That’s why I love talking about most things on here (like the Nutribullet) and also why I love Bliss’ Fat Girl Six Pack. It’s so easy to add to my routine (and it actually works…because let me be honest, I am not adding anything to my routine, however easy, unless it works). I love the cheeky name and packaging and have always found that Bliss products are solutions for some of my most bizarre beauty issues (ingrown hairs? check. cellulite? check. check. and check.)SONY DSC

Find it here or here

Fat Girl Six Pack has a bunch of ingredients that are all scientific (promise) and this applicator that really does flatten my tummy. Okay, but obviously, Bliss and I and you know that it’s not magic. It’s about all the parts of a healthy lifestyle coming together to make you confident. Which sounds amazing…but what does that actually look like?SONY DSC

For me, my confidence comes from knowing who I am and where I’ve come from. Eating as well I can and living a healthy life style also help. Anxiety comes from uncertainty so for me, I like knowing what is going into my food (which means cooking for myself more than I eat out) and living actively. My favorite thing to do is laugh and I think a sense of humor in this crazy world is a must. I feel like Bliss gets this (definitely products with a sense of humor, laughing with you not at you) and gets me without giving me another “brass ring” to reach for (size zero, longer eyelashes, clearer skin…whatever it may be). I’m a whole person, the sum of my parts, not just a selfie on instagram, you know?SONY DSC

This is the real world…You do what you can but I have other priorities besides how I look…like how I feel? When I feel good, I am more confident. So yes, I read and I write and I take pictures and I live a creative life because confidence is found in being the person that I was made to be. And if there’s a gel that gives a boost to the healthy lifestyle I am living? Major bonus. Major. 

When all these things come together? Love it. SONY DSC

Beauty is not about a size. It’s about workin’ what you got and being confident. The most beautiful people I know have a kind of joyful confidence. It’s contagious. You leave their presence feeling better about the world. That’s the kind of beauty I am after.

What about you? What makes you confident?

XO,

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Thanks to Bliss for asking me what makes me feel beautiful and confident (and sponsoring today’s discussion). And for letting me share my own thoughts, feelings, and opinions because, hey, I’ve got them!