Everyday Inspirations


~ fashion ~

Heart pendant
Whenever it comes to a time of year when my husband is buying me a gift (gentlemen, Valentine's Day is coming) I always tell him there is one thing I can almost never get sick of receiving--jewelry. I love to accessorize and especially love jewelry that has meaning to me. Now whenever I tell my hubby this I always get the response, "but aren't you bored of getting jewelry from me?" Now guys, let me explain something, when a woman puts on jewelry it is often an extension of herself--her style, her mood, her emotions. So when she wears something from her man it's sort of like bringing a piece of him around with her. 

Even with a ginormous jewelry box full of glittering gems, some of the simplest and most sentimental pieces are the ones that stand out. Like this simple white gold and diamond heart. Nate gave it to me on my 20th birthday. Of all the jewelry I own it has definitely been worn the most, though it certainly isn't the most extravagant or unique thing I own. So why do I love this piece? Perhaps it's the simple design that matches with almost everything. Maybe it's because when I look at it I still remember the exact emotion of surprise and love I felt. Whatever it is, there's something beyond gold, diamonds or my love of jewelry I experience when I wear it. When it around my neck I feel the way he makes me feel--beautiful, safe, happy and loved. I know that sounds beyond cheesy saying out loud, but it's true. Next time you need something special, something simple chosen from the heart is often the best gift you can give.

~ how to ~


It's Sunday night, which means it's time to prepare for another week. (By the way, how do weekends manage to fly by so quickly? It doesn't matter if I'm resting or relaxing -- before I know it, it's Sunday.)

Instead of branding Sunday night as the dreaded "night before Monday," use the evening as a time to relax and mentally prepare yourself for another week. Establish a relaxation ritual that is unique to you. Get rid of clutter so you don't wake up to messes that will stress you out. Make sure you eat a delicious, healthy meal. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or sugar if they affect your sleep. And don't forget to end your night with an activity that relaxes you, such as enjoying a warm beverage with a book or taking a bath.
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It's been one of those days where the original plans all fall through and it's just not the day I was anticipating. But when all else fails, a night with the bestie drinking tropical drinks and making jewelry will make everything better. The end. 

~ our world ~


On Wednesday, Dan and I went to Ogden to see a Sundance film. The festival is held every January in Park City, Utah, but they also have showings in Ogden and Salt Lake City. Since tickets to shows we wanted to see sold out pretty quickly, our only option was to drive 45 minutes north to see "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" (which I highly recommend).

I try to take advantage of Sundance, even though I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the festival. As a local, I love the chance to actually see films (a few years ago, the only goal my girlfriends and I had was just to get into one of the parties). And since meeting Dan, a major movie buff, I've had fun picking out and watching some pretty great films.

However, I do feel I would be a bit... dishonest if I pretended Sundance is all fun and games. I'm sure it is for the Hollywood crowd. But as a local, you have to deal with less than red carpet treatment: freezing temps, total lack of parking, long lines. But most of all, you have to deal with the utter madness of crazy locals who feel the need to get all Sundanced up. Now, to be clear, I have no problem with locals who head up to Park City to see stars. The problem comes when dealing with hundreds of locals pretending they are stars. I promise you, no matter where you see a Sundance film (yes, even in Ogden), you will encounter an irritating faux star. And 99% of the time, this person will be in all black (with fuzzy boots, if she's female), will be wearing sunglasses, and will be shouting into a cell phone. My personal favorite was a dude on Main Street probably three years ago, screaming into his phone, "I'm at SUNDANCE! SUUUUNDAAAANCE!"

Our local on Wednesday night was just as loud, but at least his friends were with him, so we didn't have to deal with bad cell reception. I was lucky enough to stand next to him in line AND have him pick the seat right behind me. Yay, crazy local! Needless to say, my mental countdown wasn't so much for the movie to start as it was for him to stop pretending he was a movie expert. ("The director of this film? Yeah, I think it's Mark something." Um, Morgan Spurlock. Not exactly a documentary filmmaker no one has heard of. I mean, just saying.)

Anyway, despite two weeks of craziness, I still think it's pretty incredible that Utah gets this much attention each January. I happen to think Salt Lake and Park City are awesome and it's great to be a part of so much creativity and entertainment. And, fine, if the presence of all the stars and filmmakers makes my fellow Utahns happy, maybe I can try to be okay with all the outrageous, furr-lined giddiness. Maybe. ;)
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~ food ~

homemade granola
Granola is a great healthy snack, but so many granolas you find are loaded with tons of hidden sugar and fat. So why not make your own and know exactly what is going into it? It's easy and totally yummy on yogurt, with milk or just to munch on. My amazing friend, Haley (who also happens to be an amazing baker), shared this recipe with me. You'll find a very low amount of sugar, butter and oil in there for the fifteen servings it makes. In my recipe I used fresh apple juice instead of orange for my personal preference which turned out delicious. Also, a money saving tip, buy the nuts, oats and cranberries from the bulk section in your grocery store in exact amounts and you'll save a ton. Minus a few things like cinnamon, vanilla and oil that I already had, the whole thing cost me about $5 to make. 

In case I got you hooked on www.myfitnesspal.com from my previous post, I am going to start adding my recipes to the public food listings so you can easily add any recipes you make from here to your calorie count for the day. Just search "365inspirations.com" and you will find this recipe in there. 

{Fruit and Nut Granola}

2 tbsp Canola oil
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup orange juice
2 cup mixed dried fruit (crasins)

Preheat oven to 275.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  In medium sauce pan combine oil, butter, sugar, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and bring to a simmer, stirring until brown sugar is dissolved.  Approx. 2 minutes.  Let cool slightly.

In a very large bowl combine oats and nuts and toss the warm sugar mixture until they are coated thoroughly.  Spread granola over baking sheet and place in the oven for approx 1 hour and 15 min..
Stir once or twice until golden.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl pour orange juice over crasins and let stand about 1 hour.  Drain off juice and mix with granola for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Remove granola from oven and let cool on baking sheet until crisp.

~ a better you ~

Hello, gorgeous.

We've spent January discussing quite a few workout-related topics as our "A Better You" posts, and I hope they've been helpful for our readers. There really is nothing like starting a new year filled with new goals. And there is nothing better than a goal to make yourself healthier. It's one of the toughest things to do, especially in our world. It's also not a short-term goal that is easy to make and forget. Staying in shape and eating healthy is a commitment, something you have to integrate into so many areas of your life. You have to understand yourself, change your habits, and be flexible.

One pattern I've noticed after we (yes, I'm including everyone here) set a goal to "get healthy" is that it's sometimes easy to rationalize unhealthy habits: "I ran X miles today, so I can eat anything I want tonight."

Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE eating. I don't ever finish a half marathon and think, "Hmm, yes, salad time." (Hell, I don't finish a long training run and think that!) I am most definitely a person who "runs to eat," rather than the more impressive "eats to run." Most of us are and that's not a bad thing. However, my concern comes when food because the motivation more often than necessary. If you find yourself turning an unhealthy meal into a reward for going to the gym, it's time to take a step back. To be clear, I'm not saying that food is a bad motivator or reward. Sometimes it's the best. thing. ever. But like I said, my concern is when food is the ONLY reward. What happens if you stop working out for a period of time? I mean, this is life. You have to make healthy habits what they are... habits.

Understand your connection to food. Not to get all Jillian and Bob on you, but one of the simplest connections to food is emotion -- and your job is to understand that emotion so that you don't turn to food because you're depressed or bored.

Develop a taste of delicious, healthy meals and snacks. I'm human. I understand that we all have the best intentions but sometimes food is still the only thing that hits the spot. (Do you know how hard it's been for me to come home from a workout and ignore all that leftover birthday ice cream cake that's in my freezer?) Start to experiment with healthy meals and snacks. One of my favorite tricks I use when I'm craving a brownie or cake after dinner is to enjoy half a grapefruit. So delicious. And so guilt free!

Don't deny yourself. Ang and I say this again and again and again. Don't. Deny. Yourself. It never works to your advantage. If you want a big ol' burrito, have one. Just not every night. Or even three nights a week. Develop a schedule for going out; for example, by giving yourself a "free night" on Fridays.

Create new rewards. Oh my gosh, this one is the best. Who says food has to be your only reward? Especially if you're rocking some awesome workouts (I mean, I think you DO deserve something for getting up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to run 12 miles, thankyouverymuch). What about clothes (my personal favorite) -- a new top to wear this weekend or new workout capris. Shoes? A trip with your friends? An outdoor adventure, like rock climbing or kayaking? You can have fun with this.
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~ home ~

get rid of your smelly disposal

Don't throw those citrus peels away...let them go down the drain! Whenever I'm cleaning the kitchen or I get a smelly drain, I always grind an orange, lemon or lime peel down the garbage disposal. The ground citrus helps get rid of any less desirable odors while making your kitchen sink smell fresh and clean. 

~ fashion ~

I was embarassed to ask Dan to take pics of my hair in the yard... so I threw on some shades. Instant disguise.

The other day I realized we don't have near enough hair posts on EI. Not that I'm any sort of hair expert, but I do experiment a lot. Some days my straight hair just needs more texture. I have several techniques in my back pocket, so today I thought I'd share one on how to create simple, sassy waves.

{what you'll need}
extra hold gel ~ curl enhancing gel ~ hair dryer ~ 0.5" curling iron ~ 1" curling iron ~ clips ~ comb ~ hairspray

1. While hair is damp, part in the middle. Add extra hold gel (just what you'd use every day). Add a couple sprays of the curl enhancing gel to your palm and apply to hair, starting at the tips (don't apply to your roots -- you want body). Because I like to avoid using the dryer while my hair is super wet, I put on makeup while I wait for it to dry a bit.

2. Blow dry hair like normal. No worries about doing anything special at this point.

3. Run a comb through dry hair to get out any snarls. Using a clip, pull up all but your bottom layer of hair. Now, here is my favorite trick: lightly spritz your hair with hairspray, then comb it out while it's still damp. (If you have hair that's less than cooperative when it comes to holding curl, the hair spray gives it a hand without making it crunchy and stiff.) Using your curling irons, curl medium to large sections of hair into spiral curls (the two sizes add a nice texture, plus the 1" iron is much better on those bottom layers no one is going to see). Lightly spritz each layer with hairspray as you go. Repeat all over your head.

4. Once your head is filled with spiral curls, it's time to have fun (though you could stop at this point if you want). Turn your head over and, using your finger tips, massage your roots to start breaking up the curls. Lift your head and use your finger tips to gently shake loose the curls at the roots (it's best to make your hands into claws for this step). Spritz with hairspray to hold, shaking your head to avoid crunchy, immobile strands. Hello, sassy!
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~ how to ~

We are all different. Not everyone does things the way you would or makes the decisions you'd make. Sometimes we celebrate that. Sometimes that can be frustrating, hurtful, or confusing, but that is exactly what makes them who they are. Our differences make us all unique and that is beautiful. Take a moment to remember that it's all those things that make every person who she is and embrace the same with the different. 

~ small inspiration ~

'Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.' Kahlil Gibran

Yesterday was my 26th birthday, and I'm so very, very blessed to have plans to celebrate all weekend. I've been amazed all week by the outpouring of love from my friends and family. Angie's beautiful EI post, skiing with my brother and Dan, dinner with family, drinks with friends... I have been spoiled beyond what is necessary and have given thanks in my heart more times than I can count. It feels incredible to reach another year of your life (one that will be great, by the way--I can feel it!) and have most beautiful, kind, inspirational people in the world express their love for you. Seriously, you guys, you have no idea how much I love you all. It touches my heart to feel that love back from the coolest people on earth.

So here is to another year of life. Another year of love and celebrations and dancing and laughing until our stomaches hurt. These things wouldn't happen without the people I love most. Thank you.
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