motivation mondays: week 4
hi, everyone! i got back from europe last night and while the end of vacation is never a fun thing to come to terms with, i’m excited to get back into my routine, pick up my half marathon training [less than two weeks!], drink some green juice, eat a salad [i’ve probably had enough beer and pretzels to last me for the rest of my life] and catch up with my friends and coworkers! i plan on posting in detail [with better quality photos] about the 10 days we spent in germany, hungary, and austria, but here are a few highlights to give you a sneak peak!
[selfies with our new norwegian friends at oktoberfest!]
[neuschwanstein castle in germany]
[view of the hungarian parliament building from across the danube in budapest]
[belvedere castle in vienna]
gorgeous, right?! there is seriously something so magical about european cities that we just don’t have here [not even in new york] and the feeling that i get just strolling through the streets, taking in the architecture, stopping for a glass of wine at a street café and people watching is just not possible to recreate anywhere else. sigh.
so, it’s back to reality and that means a new week, a fresh start and a positive quote to get the week off on the right foot! happy week four of motivation mondays!
potential is something i have really been thinking about a lot lately, especially since starting this blog and my health coaching practice. i follow so many bloggers who have turned blogging into a career and it’s so inspiring to know that it’s possible. i definitely dream about being able to do this full time, but sometimes it’s just like… how the eff is that even possible? when i read this quote, it’s a good reminder… i’m definitely working hard and putting a lot into my blog… but there is always something more that i could be doing… more that will push me in the direction i want to go in.
is it easy to tap into your full potential? not typically. is it worth it? if it’s going to get you to a place where you are 100% happy and doing what you love, of course! sometimes we need to remind ourselves how much potential really lies within us, figure out how to access it and just effing go for it.
the fall season that is now upon us has me feeling all warm and fuzzy and with that i’m feelin’ this amazing energy that’s making me want to dive in and figure out how to do exactly what i want to be doing. i’m going to set some goals for myself, make some decisions about how to get there and run with it.
what about you? what goals have you set for yourself and what are you doing to reach them? do you have any tips for people who might be struggling to reach their own full potential? would love to hear from you in the comments below!
a few other things i’m loving right now: this fall bucket list from eating bird food… i’m definitely going to be making one of my own, these magic carpet yoga mats that my friend steph brought to my attention this morning… seriously… how cool are they?! and finally, these boyfriend jeans… i’m doubting my ability to pull this trend off, but i might just have to give it a try anyways… they just look so chic and comfy!
have an amazing week and be sure to check back later this week for my first ever “what i ate wednesday” to hear about all of the amazing things i ate [and drank] in europe!
image courtesy of ancora imparo
healthy lifestyle staples: reusable water bottles
as a human living in the 21st century, it seriously amazes me how good, clean, pure water is nearly impossible to come by… unless, of course, you live in the mountains next to a spring you can drink from… but i’m assuming for most of us, this is not even close to being the case.
bottled water isn’t even safe these days… they are actually adding things like magnesium sulfate [bath salts], potassium chloride [used in lethal injections to stop the heart] and straight up salt to bottled water. dasani has recently taken a lot of heat for this, but unfortunately, they’re not the only company adding things to their water. it’s pretty pathetic that i now find myself reading the ingredients lists on bottled water… that literally makes no sense. and, as if this wasn’t already bad enough, the plastic bottles that water comes in contain even more chemicals [that I cannot spell or pronounce] and the most talked about of them all, bisphenol a [bpa] is known to cause breast cancer and birth defects. effing awesome.
if you’re anything like me, you’re most likely asking yourself, “soooo, what the eff am i supposed to be drinking?” some of you may be surprised by this answer, but i seriously believe that the best, healthiest and safest water for us to be drinking is tap water. now, i know that there is really no way to know 100% for sure what’s in the water that comes out of our faucets, but i’ve reached a point where i feel like as long as it’s been filtered, tap is the way to go. it’s time to kick the bottled water habit to the curb.
Image courtesy of paper hounds
the best thing you can do to kick the bottled water habit fast is to find a fun reusable water bottle that you can easily throw into your bag and take everywhere with you. there are tons of companies that now make glass, aluminum and plastic water bottles in a variety of colors and prints that are not only safe, but look great and will also help you to reduce the amount of waste you are contributing to the planet.
some of these companies even use recycled materials for their products and donate a portion of their profits to charity. i’m pretty much obsessed with bkr bottles, which are pictured above, but klean kanteen, sigg, and hydros also have some really great options, too. the prices may seem high for a water bottle, but think about how many times you’ve picked up a $3 bottle of water at the bodega. see what i’m getting at here?
when it comes to filtering your tap water, there are a lot options out there, as well. personally, i use a traditional brita pitcher right now, but I’m dying for one of these pitchers from soma. the filters are made from malaysian coconut shells, fine silk and other plant-based materials… health and luxury rolled into one package? perfect.
image courtesy of selectism
so, go shell out for a new, fun water bottle and a water filtering system of some kind. you’ll be much healthier and end up saving money over time, which means more disposable income for things like an uncontrollable green juice habit, mani/pedis, yoga classes, and happy hours with your friends. sounds like a win-win to me.
diy all-natural facial toner
one of my favorite things to experiment with these days is all-natural beauty products. conventional beauty products, even high-end ones, are full of harmful chemicals that can cause a variety of health problems, so over the past six months, i have slowly been transitioning my self-care and beauty products to all-natural options and along the way i’ve started dabbling in making my own.
a quick, easy to make all-natural facial toner has become a staple in my morning and evening skincare routine. toner is used to soothe the skin, remove oils and tighten pores and since i’ve stopped using my store-bought toner and making my own, i have noticed a major difference in how my skin looks and feels. there are only three ingredients, all of which are 100% natural and safe, and a small amount goes a long way, making your skin feel clean, refreshed and just all-around amazing [you know, it gives you that healthy, effortless glow]. you will need:
- 1/4 c. organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 c. filtered water
- 10-20 drops therapeutic grade tea tree essential oil
all you have to do is mix these three ingredients together and store the toner in some kind of an airtight container. that’s it. i put just a little bit of this on a cotton pad and gently swipe it over my face and neck after i wash my face and before i apply moisturizer each morning and before bed. the apple cider vinegar helps to even out your complexion and unclog pores, while the tea tree oil acts as an anti-bacterial and and anti-inflammatory, zapping away acne that might be hangin’ around. oh, and don’t worry about the smell! i promise that within a few minutes you won’t be able to tell that you just wiped vinegar all over your face.
i want to share more of these beauty recipes with you guys in addition to all of the other recipes i post, so you can expect to start seeing more posts like this one going forward! what are your all-natural beauty go-tos? what products would you like to see me experiment with and post recipes for? as always, i would love to hear from you!
motivation mondays: week 3
greetings from deutschland! i hope that everyone had an amazing weekend… i definitely did. today is our final day in munich and late this evening we’ll be boarding the night train to budapest! this week’s edition of the motivation mondays series is gonna be short and sweet [i am on vacation, after all], but i think the message is really important.
it might sound too easy or maybe just not possible, but trust me, it is. if you wake up every morning and decide that it’s going to be a good day from the moment your feet hit the floor, your day will be 100x times better than if you approach it with dread and negativity. if you make this a habit, the days where being happy or in a good mood is nearly impossible will be that much easier to get through.
in reality, mindset is 99% of it and your circumstances are trivial. anyone can be happy and there are plenty of people who are happy with less than what you have, in much worse situations than the one you currently find yourself in. slap a smile on that mug of yours and be happy. it’s really not that hard and no one likes a grouch.
i can’t wait to share with you all of things we’ve been doing, the places we’ve visited and the food we have eaten in munich and i’m beyond excited to get to budapest! what are you plans for the week?
image courtesy of double-blonde study
healthy travel: what’s in my carry-on?
ahhh!! the day has arrived! in just a few hours, i will be in the sky, somewhere over the ocean, bound for europe, baby! the first stop on the trip is munich for OKTOBERFEST. this is a major bucket list item for me and i could not be any more excited to spend the next four days drinking beer by the stein and eating every pretzel i get within a ten foot radius of. from munich, we’re headed to budapest for a few days before spending the final leg of the trip in vienna. did i mention that i’m excited? because i am.
as much as i love traveling [i have a pretty serious case of wanderlust], figuring out how to stay healthy while on vacation can give me a lot of anxiety. obviously, vacation is about relaxing, letting loose and immersing yourself in a new place, but i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again… it’s still gotta be about balance. an easy way to start your trip off on a healthy note is all in what you pack in your carry-on. airports and airplanes are full of absolute garbage for food options, getting comfortable and, god forbid, sleeping, are nearly impossible and planes are crawling with germs.
i like to make sure that my carry-on is packed full of healthy snacks, a few things to help me relax and plenty of distractions. here’s a peak into what i’m throwing in my carry-on as i’m headed to the airport today.
1. a book, magazines, headphones + a phone loaded with music. between waiting to board, the flight itself and layovers, there is typically a lot of downtime that needs to be filled. headphones and music are a no-brainer a few magazines and a book can go a long way.
2. hand sanitizer + echinacea. planes = petri dishes. seriously, they are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs. hand sanitizer is absolutely necessary and i like to pop a few echinacea tablets before, during and after my flight to give my immune system a boost.
3. chamomile tea, magnesium + lavender essential oil. chamomile tea is known for is relaxing properties and i love having a cup after take off… bring your own and just ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water. i’ll also take a magnesium supplement or two to help balance my melatonin and serotonin levels and a dab of lavender oil on the inside of each wrist helps me to really relax and [hopefully] drift off to sleep.
4. snacks. healthy ones. lot’s of ’em. plane. food. is. gross. even calling it food is a stretch and there is absolutely no way any of it is good for you, so i always make a run to whole foods before any trip. there are so many healthy snack options out there now which are easy to toss into your bag and i always grab a bar of dark chocolate because… why not? this is vacation.
also, i cannot recommend staying hydrated while flying enough. the stale air in the cabin can really dry you out and arriving at your destination dehydrated is never fun. if you have room, throw a small water bottle in your bag and have the flight attendants refill it for you… oh, and asking for an aisle seat is probably a good idea, if you catch my drift. i also carry kiehl’s lip balm #1 and some hand lotion with me to keep my skin and lips from drying out as well.
i have some posts scheduled to go up next week while i’m away, so keep checking back and head over to instagram to follow along with my european adventures. how do you guys survive a long flight? do you have any exciting trips planned for the fall? would love to hear all about them!
spicy cauliflower crust pizza with spinach + mushrooms
i think that i’ve mentioned more than once that i am completely obsessed with pizza. seriously, it’s my favorite food and i could never live without it [i’ve tried before and failed miserably]. unfortunately, while pizza is not the worst thing i could be eating, it’s not exactly something that i can eat whenever i feel like it, so when recipes for cauliflower crust pizza started popping up everywhere, i knew i had to give it a try. i adapted this recipe to make it just a little bit healthier, added some sriracha to the sauce à la lucifer’s pizza and topped it off with my favorite veggies. i was literally blown away by the results.
for the crust you will need:
- 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c. daiya shredded mozzarella vegan cheese
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. basil
- red pepper flakes to taste
for the toppings*:
- 1 c. marinara sauce
- sriracha sauce to taste
- 1 c. daiya shredded mozzarella vegan cheese
- 1 c. raw spinach
- 1/2 c. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
*remember, you can always swap out or add to the toppings listed here to something more suited to your preferences!
alright, here we go!
- preheat the oven to 450° and bring a saucepan of water to boil on the stovetop.
- place the cauliflower in the boiling water with a dash of salt and boil for 3-4 minutes [cauliflower should not be very soft].
- drain the cauliflower and place in a food processor with the garlic cloves. pulse until a course meal forms. it’s very important to make sure you don’t over process the cauliflower. you do not want a paste.
- line a baking sheet with paper towels and place the cauliflower on it. place more paper towels on top of the cauliflower and firmly press down, absorbing as much moisture as you can.
- transfer the cauliflower into a large mixing bowl and stir in egg, cheese, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes.
- grease a large baking sheet with coconut oil and place the cauliflower mixture on the baking sheet, pressing it together firmly so there are no gaps and forming it into whatever shape you would like.
- place in the oven and bake at 450° for about 20 minutes. while the crust is baking, mix together the marinara sauce and sriracha. set aside.
- remove the crust from the oven after 20 minutes or once the edges have started to brown. spread the sauce, extra cheese, spinach and mushrooms on the crust evenly.
- bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the spinach has slightly wilted and the mushrooms have cooked through.
- let cool, cut into slices, and enjoy!
motivation mondays: week 2
happy monday, everyone! it’s so weird for me to use the words “happy” and “monday” in the same sentence and in relation to one another, but i have to say, this motivation mondays series has given me a reason to look forward to monday [and it’s only the second week]!
this weekend didn’t end up going quite as i had planned… it rained in new york on saturday so i decided to skip out on wanderlust 108 and headed to one of my favorite yoga studios for a class and a healthy lunch with a girlfriend of mine instead. yoga was just what my body needed and i’m totally fine with my decision to skip running a 5k and doing yoga in the rain. no thank you. below is a picture of the amazing lunch we enjoyed post-yoga in the studio’s all organic, all vegan café.
so, now that we’ve chatted about my lovely saturday morning and since i’m off to europe on thursday, i thought that this week’s mantra should be travel inspired and this quote is one that really embodies my approach to life: “wander often, wonder always.”
for as long as i can remember i have wanted to travel. it didn’t matter where i was going [although international travel has always been preferable for obvious reasons], i just wanted to go. in high school, i went on a 10-day school trip to france and from that moment on i. was. hooked. now, i try to do at least one big trip a year [this year i am extremely lucky to be getting two big trips in] and as many small, weekend getaways as possible, because, you know, who doesn’t want to get away as much as they can?
travel teaches us about other cultures, helps us to be more understanding of those who are different from us, and often makes us grateful for and more appreciative of our own lives. my advice to you is to travel as much as you can [it’s the best money you will ever spend] and to never stop wondering… wondering about what else is out there in the world, wondering about the past, the future, yourselves… curiosity is what keeps life interesting.
just a few other things i’m into right now: this [travel] article… i mean, if these stories don’t make you want to travel there is something seriously wrong with you, this guided meditation… i’ve made it a regular part of my morning routine and i’m loving it, and fall fashion… it’s the only reason i’m kinda sorta a little tiny bit okay with summer being [almost] over.
i would love to hear from you! what are you up to this week? what are some of the best trips you have taken? what cities or countries are on your travel bucket list? let me know in the comments section below and have an amazing week!
image courtesy of altar’d state
peanut butter cup overnight oats
happy friday, everyone! i hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to the weekend ahead of you… you’re almost there! the recipe i’m sharing with you today brings together two of my favorite things, like, ever [peanut butter and chocolate] for a healthy, easy to make breakfast that’s perfect for a lazy saturday morning since all the prep is done the night before.
i’ve seen a lot of recipes for overnight oats lately, so i thought i would have a go at them myself. i used the ingredients i already had in my cupboard for this dairy- and gluten-free version… i have to say, i was pretty pleased with the results and i think you will be, too! the final product needs to sit in the refrigerator overnight, so make sure to grab all of the ingredients you’ll need on your way home from work and whip this up tonight. this way, tomorrow morning can be all about sleeping in and relaxing. for 2 servings, you will need:
- 1/2 c. gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 c. almond milk [or other milk alternative of your choice]
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 banana [the riper the better]
- 2 tbsp. organic peanut butter
- 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. raw honey [or other natural sweetener of your choice]
- 2 tbsp. vegan carob chips
the steps are as follows:
- combine the oats, almond milk and salt in a saucepan and cook on the stovetop over medium heat until almost all of the almond milk has been absorbed. you don’t want to oats to be too watery or too sticky… right in the middle is perfect!
- while the oats are cooking, mash the banana and peanut butter together with a fork until smooth and well-combined.
- when the oats have finished cooking, place about half of them in a food processor or blender with the banana-peanut butter mixture, vanilla, and honey and blend until smooth.
- stir the remaining oats and carob chips into the smooth, blended mixture and place in mason jars [small bowls or mugs work fine, too!] and refrigerate overnight.
- sprinkle with extra carob chips and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning… enjoy!
what are your plans for the weekend? i’m excited to be heading to my first ever wanderlust event, wanderlust 108, with one of my girlfriends. i can’t wait to share the experience with you guys next week! tell me about what you’re up to this weekend in the comments below. anyone else headed to wanderlust 108?!
3 life lessons i learned from my dog
about a week ago, my family dog, rollie [pronounced rah-lee] passed away. it was a rough week for us, but knowing that he is in a better place, chasing all of the squirrels, and eating all of the ice cream he could have ever dreamed of is comforting. i went home last weekend and it was so weird walking up to my front door and only being greeted by our other dog, rex. we got rollie when he was only eight weeks old and he was a true member of the family to us, not just a pet, and the house definitely felt empty without him there. as you can see from the picture below, he was also really good at posing for selfies.
i am obsessed with dogs and as a dog lover [i often say i like dogs more than people], i don’t see dogs as inferior creatures or things that we can just throw away like other possessions when we get sick of them. dogs are highly intelligent [probably smarter than many people i’ve come in contact with], can feel like we do and i think that we can all learn from them in some way. here are three important life lessons i learned from rollie.
- be persistent. i have never met a dog as persistent as rollie was. quite often, he was persistent to the point of being annoying, especially when it came to begging for food. he would position himself in front of you, as close as he could physically get and just stare. it didn’t matter if it took you three minutes or three hours to give in. he waited until he got what he wanted and 99% of the time, he did just that. when it comes to what you want, what you really desire deep down, be persistent when going after it. stay focused, keep yourself motivated and don’t let setbacks get to you. it may take days, months or even years to reach your goals, but if it’s what you really want, it’ll be worth it.
- be accepting of others, no matter how different they are from you. rollie loved everyone. people, other dogs, cats, baby bunnies… you name it. he was best friends with our cat, sadie, greeted everyone with a wiggling butt [he was an australian shepherd, so he had no tail to wag] and was interested in everything around him to a fault. just because someone has different views or interests than you, dresses “weird” or comes from a background you don’t understand doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them. give everyone a chance and try not to pass judgement immediately. you never know how important they could end up being to your life path.
- be excited. all the time. about everything. rollie was one of those dogs that was always happy and bouncing off the walls, even in his old age when it was hard for him to get around. breakfast time? so excited. time to go outside? omg yes. going for a car ride? BEST DAY EVER. if you applied this level of excitement to every little thing you did every single day, especially the things you don’t enjoy doing, i guarantee your quality of life, stress levels, and overall outlook on life would improve drastically and every day would feel like the best day ever.
rollie kept us on our toes, brought us so many laughs over the years [and was seriously the cutest puppy ever… just look at that face!] and will be missed so much. rest peacefully, rollie boy. thank you for inspiring this post and being the best dog any kid could ever wish for.
introducing motivation mondays!
a few months ago, i started posting a positive or inspiring quote on instagram each monday morning. i feel like starting the week off with a little motivation has always helped me to avoid “the mondays” and to set myself up for a productive week, regardless of what my intentions or plans are. here, here and here are a few examples of the types of things that really get me going.
i really enjoy these little posts, so i’ve decided to take this monday ritual a step further with my brand new motivation monday series! every monday here at bananas + bellinis, i will kick off the week with a positive, uplifting and/or motivating quote and highlight some things that i’ve been obsessed with lately, whether that’s an article i really digged, a blog i’m loving or a new restaurant i tried [or all of these things]. i’m pretty excited to get this started and i would love any suggestions you have for my monday motivation posts. so, let’s get to it!
we’re kicking off motivation mondays with this mantra: “don’t forget to be awesome.”
always remember how effing awesome you are. it doesn’t matter how you think you compare to anyone else, where you think you should be in your life or how other people see you. the only, and i mean the only thing that matters is how you see yourself. you’re awesome and you need to make sure you keep that in mind at all times. winning the mental game is half the battle. happy monday!
one thing i always find myself talking about is the importance of balance and allowing yourself to indulge every once in a while. last week, after a particularly rough day, i took my own advice and ate this ice cream cone for dinner. in case you’re wondering, that’s a scoop of chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream and a scoop of salted caramel ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels swirled into it served on a waffle cone rolled in rice krispie treats. and yes, it was as good as it looks/sounds, it made me feel better and i didn’t feel guilty for one second about eating it. if you’re in need of a food-induced pick-me-up, go to emack + bolio’s immediately.
just a few other things i’m obsessed with lately: these shoes, this article and my new favorite blog, the balanced blonde! she’s super honest and relatable and she posts a lot of really delicious recipes and helpful tips for living a healthy but balanced life… right up my alley!
so, there you have it, my first motivation monday post. have a great week and be sure to check back for more new posts coming soon. what are your goals for this week? what monday rituals set you up for success? i would love to hear from you in the comments section below!
photo courtesy oof maybelline new york
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