Everyday Inspirations

 
 

~ one year of inspiration ~


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Angie and I are excited to introduce the first guest blogger helping us celebrate our one year anniversary: Teri from A Foodie Stays Fit! Teri and I went to the same high school, and over the past year we reconnected on Facebook and through the blog world (I wrote a guest post for her back in September, right after we met up for a fun coffee date). Teri even helped co-host our last #mixermixer party on Twitter in December. She has become a great online friend (if only she lived closer!) and a fabulous person with whom we can share blogging experiences. Thanks for inspiring us today, Teri. {ash}

~

Hi all! It’s Teri from A Foodie Stays Fit and I’m so happy to help celebrate the blogiversary of Everyday Inspirations! Without further ado, these are some things that inspire me. 

1. A mug of freshly brewed tea.  The color of tea when it's brewed from loose leaves is so beautiful. [Yeah, I know - I need a mug that says “tea”.]
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2. Early mornings. I love the feeling of anything-is-possible and clearheadedness that I feel just as the sky starts to come alive.
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3. Music. I love how certain songs can evoke memories, inspire moods, improve workouts and move my soul.

4. My mom and Dad. OK, they aren't "things" but they are wonderful people. They both serve others without a second thought, raised SIX kids who all turned out (relatively) normal and successful, and always tell us kids that they love us and are proud of us.

5. A beautiful pair of heels. There just ain't nothing like 'em.
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6. The type of run that makes me feel so ALIVE.

7. People who stay active and fit through all stages of life. I want to be like that

8. Travelling. I love seeing other cultures, new places, experiencing a bit of a different life.
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9. Seeing progress in workouts. I love increasing my weight in Body Pump, running faster, running longer, and feeling stronger in cycle.

10. My dog. She never fails to put a smile on my face, whether she’s racing around the yard, cuddling on my lap, or just being blame goofy like boxers often are. And she’s so darn cute!
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What inspires you?

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Psst... don't forget we're giving away a pair of handmade earrings and a handmade apron to our readers (one prize per reader, two prizes total). There are three ways to enter:
1. Tell us what inspires you in the comments section of ANY post, starting today through Wednesday, February 23.
2. Become our fan on Facebook and write about something that inspires you on our wall.
3. Follow us on Twitter and tweet something that inspires you (make sure to include @365inspirations so we see it!).

We'll be collecting names all week for both prizes, so the more times you comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter, the more chances you'll have to win! Bonus--we'll be writing a special tribute post to our readers and your comment may just appear on it (we really want to make you a big deal... because you are).

One prize per reader. Open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Twitter.

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Sassin' it up in Vegas, July 2010
Holy. Cow. It has been ONE YEAR since we started Everyday Inspirations. Our baby is growing up so fast. (Tear.)

This has been an incredible year for us, both in and out of the blogging world, and we've been lucky to share it all with you. A year ago, we were both looking to add something new to our lives--something that would help us remember how beautiful our world is. This blog has changed us in so many ways, and it couldn't have happened without you, beautiful readers. Thanks for sharing the ride. We can't wait to bring you another year filled with inspiration.

Months ago, we shared the story of our blog with our friends over at Girlfriendology. Today, we bring that story to you so you can understand more about our friendship and our work together. We'll continue the celebration this week by introducing you to a few of our favorite bloggers (and friends) and by learning more about YOU, our readers, the reason we are able to write each day. By the way, make sure you scroll all the way down to the end of today's post, because we're celebrating one year with a couple of giveaways. Woot woot!
{Our Story}
We ran in the same social circles during the four years we attended Westminster College, a small liberal arts school in Salt Lake. We shared the same major. We had the same friends. But despite all these things, we actually didn't meet until the last year of school during a senior portfolio project. After those final presentations, we kept in touch, and by graduation, Ashley secured her first job. Not long after, a position opened up at the same organization. She recommended Angie for it, and before we knew it, we were coworkers.Without this simple turn of events, we may have just become distant acquaintances, only connecting on Facebook and occasionally at get-togethers with mutual friends. Instead, we sparked not only an amazing friendship, but also a very unique relationship as coworkers.

Over the next three years we discovered we had many things in common. We especially loved that our complimentary skills allowed us to work exceptionally well as teammates. Treading the line between friendship and work can often be a challenge, but we were unique. Not only did we become incredibly close friends, but we also found working together actually enhanced our friendship. Even after 40 hours a week spent focused on office projects, we still wanted to hang out during our free time. We were more than coworkers—we were partners, and our friendship was so close that Ashley was even a bridesmaid in Angie's wedding in 2009.

We had great creative chemistry, loved to collaborate, and, with the perfect mix of skills, were able to respectfully challenge each other and successfully deal with conflict. We pushed each other to new heights of ability, encouraging and supporting each other’s growth. Each day we were able to accomplish exponentially more together than we could separately (and had a blast while doing it).

About a year ago, we found ourselves in a bit of professional slump. We needed a challenge, something to break us out of our downtrodden mindsets. We discovered a common appreciation for the simple beauty in life and our desire to be inspired each day. We knew that, no matter what, our ability to find and fall in love with simple miracles would get us through anything. Because we wanted a creative outlet to share these interests, we started Everyday Inspirations in February 2010. Everyday Inspirations was our place to focus on finding beauty and inspiration in fashion, home, health, food, travel, and the small miracles of day-to-day life.

As this site has grown, it has solidified our friendship and given us a platform to continue working together, no matter what life throws at us. While we now work for different employers, we are still able to maintain the relationship and friendship we built for years.
{An Inspired Giveaway}
In honor of our birthday week (because, really, who wants to just celebrate for a day?) we are giving away two fabulous prizes, homemade by yours truly.
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First up for grabs, a pair of silver earrings, created by Ashley. And yeah, yeah, okay, stringing together earrings isn't too difficult, but she tried. ;) (And, might I add, did it without injuring any fingers.) Besides, they're beautiful and simple and will go with just about anything in your wardrobe.


Next up, a handmade apron by Miss Angie. (And as a side note from Ashley, who owns one of Angie's aprons, they are beautiful! And sassy.) Your apron will include an accent color of your choice.

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{To Enter}
There are three ways to make these prizes yours:
1. Tell us what inspires you in the comments section of ANY post, starting today through Wednesday, February 23.
2. Become our fan on Facebook and write about something that inspires you on our wall.
3. Follow us on Twitter and tweet something that inspires you (make sure to include @365inspirations so we see it!).

We'll be collecting names all week for both prizes, so the more times you comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter, the more chances you'll have to win! Bonus--we'll be writing a special tribute post to our readers and your comment may just appear on it (we really want to make you a big deal... because you are).

Lots of love,
Ash & Angie

One prize per reader. Open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Twitter.
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~ a better you ~


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{angie}
Everyday we deal with stress--stress of work, technology, driving, and the list goes on. Problem is, when we're done with these stressors it's often hard to turn off your thoughts. We get consumed with frustration, anger, or our compulsive need to check in. I am no expert on this. In fact, I am writing about this because I really really suck at turning it off. I regularly curse technology or don't know how to turn off thoughts about work. I adore my job, but sometimes I just need to turn it off. I'll just be settling in and I get a Tweet, an email, and eh, while I'm on let's just check Facebook. I sometimes don't realize how much it can drain me to never take a mental break. It's not rocket science, but here are tips that help me turn it off.

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Take a walk. 
With it starting to get a little warmer out, every weekend I have started taking Daisy on a nice loooong walk. Being out in nature with just the two of us and seeing the happy little look on her face as she frolics is great for helping my mind renew. I find myself looking forward to our walks all week because it's truly a chance for me to detox mentally.

Remove yourself from technology. 
This one is nearly impossible for me. Turn off the phone. Shut down your computer. Do not touch the remote of that TV. Even when technology is "entertainment" to help relax you, it can still wear you down more than you think. It might be the moods of other you connect with online or the way the light literally tires out your eyes, but sometimes you just need to disconnect.

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Spend time with people you love.
Few things can really separate you from everyday stress like laughing and talking with people you love. Plan some girl time, make a date night, or go visit your family. Make a "no stress" rule where you can't be negative so your time together can really refresh you. 
 
Read a book. 
Distance yourself from your world be diving into another. Reading not only takes you away, but also helps build strong mental sustainability. 

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In case you haven't already gotten enough of Daisy.
Give it a rest.
When all else fails, take a nap. Often sleep really is the best way to detox and renew so you can be the best, most refreshed you in all your daily tasks. 

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~ home ~


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Try to not be jealous of our old school, speckled countertop.
{ash}

I remember the first time I received my first cup of tea. I was probably six or seven years old, and I thought it was the stinkiest thing ever. I didn't even try a sip.

In college, though, I was always stopping by the cafeteria in the morning to grab a hot cup of mint tea before my first class. I still love enjoying tea in the mornings (and sometimes at night). Around the holidays, Dan had to purchase a white elephant gift for his family party, so he picked up this adorable teapot. He ended up forgetting it, and it became ours. I was pretty stoked. In fact, it's so cute that I don't ever banish it to a cabinet. It sits out on our counter and adds a sweet little touch to the kitchen.

Hmm. I think I'm going to make a cup now and settle in to watch The Biggest Loser. Go black team!
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~ fashion ~


Valentine's Day fashion
{angie}
Valentine's Day fashion makes me think of luscious pinks, intricate lace and delicate jewelry. Maybe it's because it's that time of year when my skin hasn't seen the sun for all too long, but I'm drawn to the elegant color scheme of pale pink paired with black and white accents. On Valentine's I want to feel delicious, so I picked this delicate little gold cupcake to pair with pink lace and a satin ribbon. Top it off with the alluring scent of Sexy Little Things Noir from Victoria's Secret and I'm feeling romantic already.
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~ how to ~


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{ash}

I always find happiness studies incredibly interesting. There are so many theories out there regarding what you should or should not do to ensure you are satisfied with your life, and I think it can be dangerous to define happiness in definitive terms. I worry that some readers of those studies take things too literally. For example, one of the studies I read this morning while researching today's post said happy people tend to not watch TV. This, of course, does not mean happy people never watch TV. I consider myself a very happy person, but sometimes I just want to veg out in front of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I mean, let's be honest.

The beauty of happiness studies, though, is that they reinforce many things we already believe to be true about happiness -- things like knowing who you are, surrounding yourself with positive people, and taking care of your body. I collected 10 of them to share with you today. This list is filled with things that will make you better understand and respect yourself, which, in turn, will make you happier and more satisfied with your life. It's not a do or do not do list. It's a collection of small things you can start doing today to improve your outlook on life. Your beautiful, unique, daring, unpredictable, completely inspirational life.

1. Dedicate yourself to establishing happy relationships. The people you surround yourself with --you family and friends, especially -- directly influence your happiness. Choose to invite positive, fun people into your life. Get out and socialize to expand your circle of friends. And remember to give love and spread happiness into others' lives. Be the type of person you want to be around.

2. Define your values and be true to them. Live with integrity. Be honest and sincere. Make decisions based on what you know is right. Never turn your back on what you believe.

3. Recognize and appreciate your blessings. Know that life is good today. You don't need to wait for anything to make you happy. You are surrounded by beauty, love, and blessings right this minute. Also, avoid obsessing about material things.

4. Live a healthy life. Learn to appreciate your amazing body. Feed it good food. Exercise. Get plenty of sleep.

5. Be excited about the little things. Wake up each morning excited to face another day. Learn that it's okay to be excited about little things -- like a free cup of coffee or the fact that the sun is out. In fact, make it a goal to look for those little things.

6. Practice optimism. Choose to focus on the positive, even when it's much easier to look at the negative.

7. Live your passion. Chase after what makes you happy and make it part of your life. Get creative. Give time to others. Have fun.

8. Educate yourself. Dedicate yourself to learning something new every day. Read. Study. Investigate. Enjoy the fact that education will change and grow you as a human being.

9. Get spiritual, whether or not that involves religion. A well-balanced life includes an appreciation toward something bigger than we are -- a focus on the divine, the unexplainable. Understand your spiritual self and feed it.

10. Forget the past. Obsessing about what has been is unhealthy and stops you from living today to its fullest. Besides, my favorite thinking is this: If you're happy and satisfied with where you are today, it's silly to worry about past choices. They got you where you are. Learn to be grateful for what you've learned and how you've matured. Oh, how we've matured.
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~ small inspiration ~


Wendover
{angie}
The beauty is in the journey as much as the final destination. In the case of Wendover, actually more so. No matter where you're headed, when you're on your way, don't forget to take time to enjoy the ride. 
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~ our world ~


{ash}


We've been talking about upcoming vacations and now I have beach on the brain. Badly.

A few vacation images from the past few years... ah, memories!
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
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San Francisco, California.
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Lincoln City, Oregon.
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~ food ~


{angie}
Romantic dinner for two? No problem. If you are planning Valentine's Day in or just a romantic night with your sweetheart, this is a perfect meal to impress. These recipes are simple to prepare, but so full of flavor your love will be convinced you're a gourmet chef. A hint, get everything you can prepared or chopped in advance so you can focus on your time together. You've already got the table set to go, now let's get cooking! 

{Gorgonzola Walnut Chicken}

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Ingredients
2-3 chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups chicken stock, low sodium
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3 tablespoons fresh basil, diced

Directions
Season chicken with salt and pepper. If breasts are thick, slice in half horizontally. In a large skillet melt butter with olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken 4 minutes, turn over and cook 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Remove to a warm platter covered in foil. Add chicken stock to skillet and boil on high for 1 minute. Stir in cream and cheese. Cook until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with chopped walnuts. Serve immediately.

{Vinaigrette Marinated Tomatoes}

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Ingredients
2-3 tomatoes
1/2 cup Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions
Slice tomatoes and put in a shallow dish. Cover with vinaigrette and marinate for at least 20 minutes. Can be prepared in advance. 

{Ice Cream Rolled in Toasted Coconut}

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Ingredients
Ice cream (vanilla bean, pineapple, strawberry, or other)
Sweetened coconut
Optional for hearts: chocolate chips

Directions
Heat up the oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut on a cookie sheet and let toast in oven until lightly browned. Remove and let cool. Scoop ice cream balls using a scoop. Drop into coconut and roll around with fingers. Place in freezer to let set up. To make heart melt chocolate and using a spoon, draw hearts on a sheet of wax paper. Set in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.  

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~ a better you ~


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{ash}

Happy Wednesday, sweet readers. I honestly cannot believe we're halfway through the week. The combination of multiple work projects, plus the fact that my training schedule doesn't include a rest day until Friday, means that this week is flying by. I feel like I'm going, going, going from the sound of my alarm until I fall into bed at night. Not that I'm complaining.

I know this is going to make me sound ultra dorky, but lately I've been looking forward to coming home from the gym... and washing my face. Because a clean face means I get to use my new night time moisturizer!

You: Um, yay?

My transition to a night moisturizer (it sounds so very adult, doesn't it?) happened because of a conversation I had with my cousin Christine, who is an aesthetician (you may remember her from our 12 Days of Holiday DIY). I visited her over my birthday weekend for a facial and she asked about my skin care routine.

"Oh, you know, I wash my face twice a day and moisturize after."

"Do you use your daytime moisturizer at night?"

"Is that bad?"

No, she told me. It's not bad. But then she pointed out I really don't need the SPF from my daytime lotion when I'm sleeping. Point taken.

I always feel a little torn about anti-aging routines. It's not because I don't want young-looking skin and not because I don't want to take care of my skin. I just think it can be tough to live in a world that's so very focused on youth. Maybe I'll feel differently the older I get, but I sure do wish we spent less time agonizing over little lines and more time revering the amazing experience that comes with age and experience. Laugh lines should be badges of honor.

That's just me.

Regardless of how you all feel, I know I don't need to hammer it into your head that skincare is extremely important at any stage of your life. And, as illustrated from the conversation I had with my cousin, I also know I'm no expert. So I wanted to share a few links with you that explain why using a separate night cream is indeed a good thing to incorporate into your nightly ritual.

- It's a simple, cheap way to keep your skin hydrated and nourished.
- Night lotions are heavier than the lotion you wear during the day. Because of this, there are more active anti-aging ingredients.
- They vary to work with your skin at any age. Check out a list of the best skin routines according to your age--you know I had to pull a Cosmo article. (Okay, so this tip is in the one above too.)
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