Everyday Inspirations

 
 
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{angie}
You're stressed and mentally blocked. You need a break. Grab your walking shoes and perhaps a coworker or friend and take a sanity walk. It can be a quick walk around the block, or if time allows, take a whole lunch hour. The fresh air and blood flow will help clear your mind and stimulate your body which leaves a healthier, happier you. Think you're too busy at work for a sanity walk? Take ten minutes. You will work faster and your quality of work will be better if you can think straight. Managers, try having your weekly check-in as a walk instead of in a stagnant board room.
 
Bird, necklace holder
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Any woman knows the importance of keeping her jewelry in some sort of order. Necklaces, in particular, can be tricky little accessories. It's never fun when you have to separate two or three or six from one another. Years ago I was on the hunt for a fun way to both organize and show off my necklaces. I didn't want to hide them away. I wanted to find a simple, classy, orderly way to display them.

I found this necklace holder on the Urban Outfitters web site (this was before Salt Lake had its own store). The colorful little bird is so cute and I adore the copper color. It has brightened up my room through college and into my adult life. I don't think I will ever part with it.
 
{angie}
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As I did research to write this article I found myself salivating, so beware.  Let me begin by saying I love bags. The pockets, colors, textures, the way they accent an outfit. But a few years ago I told myself I didn't need a ton of purses. Keyword need, not want. I started buying one nice purse that I love that matches with lots of outfits.

So how do I express my love for bags now? Wristlets. Wristlets are cheaper, classy, and come in all sorts of colors and styles to fulfill your most frivolous desires. You can indulge in buying several and your wallet will give you a big smile (both because it's still full of money AND has lots of cute new friends). I find them nice for bar hopping or errands as they are small but conveniently attached to your wrist so you don't leave them in places like I do with clutches. They are also perfect for carrying in your main purse with all the essentials--easy to move from purse to purse or come out when you don't need the big bag.

I love some of the colorful and creative wristlets made by artists on Etsy and they will definitely make your pocketbook happy. Or if you're feeling indulgent get your favorite designer brands like White House Black Market, Coach, Vera Bradley, or find brands like Juicy or Prada at Saks.com.

 
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A dear friend of mine has worked hard to get into shape. In the process, she has, naturally, lost weight. She looks beautiful, healthy, and happy, and I'm thrilled to see her well-earned changes.

My friend's weight loss is not her ultimate goal; her physical fitness is. However, her weight loss has garnered a lot of attention. While people have good intentions, some can only fixate on a smaller body, not athletic achievement. And when well-meaning individuals say things like, “Wow, you've lost a TON of weight,” it can be a challenge.

Now, don't get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hearing, “You lost weight! You look great.” That can be very motivating and some people want to hear it. However, constantly hearing HOW MUCH weight you've lost or HOW DIFFERENT you look can be tough because it can feel like you're being told “You looked bad/fat/awful before.” And who wants to hear that?

We are raised to think being thin is the ultimate goal. This is not true. Getting active to better yourself (live longer, improve stress on your body, improve mental health) should be your goal. We should be celebrated for working to make life more enjoyable, not just to fit into a smaller size. While new pants can be a nice bonus for getting in shape, they should not be the only reason. If you're exercising just to lose weight, chances are you will get bored and have no motivation. You need to establish a relationship with your body that keeps you going on the days you want to quit.

Easy ways to compliment weight loss (without just focusing on weight):
  • Focus on the activities that have contributed to the weight loss: “I've noticed you're getting more active. You look great! What have you been doing?"
  • Exercise improves a person's mood. Talk about his or her change of attitude: “Your pleasant attitude is so welcoming. Thank you for being positive. It makes my day better.”
  • Point out a person's dedication: “I've noticed you've lost weight. You look awesome. I know how much dedication and work it takes to get fit.”
 
Spring grass
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold;
when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.

-Charles Dickens

{angie}
The thing I love most about winter is how much it makes me love spring. After months of cold, snow and dark the world emerges into sunshine, life and color. I rediscover how beautiful the world is. People are friendlier. I smile more freely. I open all the windows in my house to let the sun spill in. Sunshine, you are my sunshine!
 
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{ash}

In preparation for an upcoming vacation to the Pacific Northwest, I started browsing through photos from my trip to Portland, Oregon, last spring. If you've never been to Portland--you must. It's that simple. Oregon as a whole is gorgeous, but I'd move to Portland in a second if given the chance. It is a charming, laid back city. It doesn't need to try to impress you; its charisma will get you in minutes.

I took this photo during lunch down by the river, then I made my way through downtown Portland to Powell's City of Books, where I browsed for hours. After, I joined my aunt and uncle for happy hour at Henry's Tavern. Good times.
 
{angie}
My bio says I am currently being inspired by toasted coconut so I guess I better follow through. Coconut takes me to summer and beaches and I am a bit over-enthusiastic about the warmer months this year seeing as I was too busy being a bride and a maid of honor last year. I'm pretty sure toasted coconut is one of the greatest substances and I have been known to munch on it plain. I created this recipe by combining a few of my favorite cookie recipes and adding my own little inspiration of coconut. One of my greater creations if I do say so myself. Let me know what you think!
oatmeal toasted coconut chocolate chip cookies

Oatmeal Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups flour
1.5 cups oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup toasted coconut (toast raw coconut on broil until light brown)
2/3 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or white depending on preference)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix butter, cream cheese, eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Mix flour, oats, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients until completely mixed. Add in toasted coconut and chocolate chips. Spoon 1.5" balls of dough onto a baking sheet a few inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 24-30 cookies.
 
Road
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This morning I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the gym. The moment my alarm went off my entire body was in an uproar. "No!" screamed. "I want more sleep!" I dragged my tired self out of bed, pulled up my hair, tied my running shoes, and set off anyway.

Today's training run was four miles. For some reason, early runs over three miles are tougher on me mentally. However, I realized how necessary it is to continue training through these last few weeks, so I started up the treadmill. Yesterday I had decided it would be beneficial to push my body a little further by starting at a speed or two higher than my normal level. Nothing crazy, I had thought. No need to get hurt. But let's get to another fitness level.

Fast forward 15 minutes. I'm hot, sweaty, and bored. My body isn't in pain, but my mind is ready to quit. I don't want to keep pushing myself, even though that's what I had planned to do. I'm torn about continuing. What if it's too tough? What if I can't hold the pace? Then I find my mind.

"Well," I think, "it's not like it's going to kill you."

So I upped the speed. Five minutes later, I did it again. I repeated this pattern until the last three-tenths of a mile when I started to sprint. "Buck up," I said as I saw the end in sight, as my insides felt like they were moving out of my comfort zone. "You're fine. You're not going to puke or faint just because you're pushing your body."

I was right, of course, and I finished with a great time. In the car after the run, I started thinking why I had insisted on arguing with my decision. It would have been one thing if I had felt sick or like I was going to get hurt, but I didn't. So why argue?

Why is it that when it's time to push ourselves to new levels—even when we know we're capable—that we start second-guessing our potential? Why do we sometimes let our minds take over?

We all know the famous quote "Do something each day that scares you." While I don't think you need give yourself a tough challenge every day, I do sincerely wonder what it is about life we're scared to face. I mean, what scares you? Is it a physical challenge, like pushing your body to a new fitness level? Is it professional? Are you afraid to ask for a raise or inquire about a position? Are you nervous to take the next step in life, whether that's going to school, buying a home, or meeting someone new?

You know you're awesome. So don't not be afraid. Today, let's all take care of one thing that seems scary. I have no doubt that you're strong enough to handle it. And at the end of the day you'll be glad you did.
 
Red and turquoise bedroom decor
{angie}
Black and white. Cyan and red. Mahogany and cream. There's not much that creates a statement like high contrast color combinations like these. When used right, these contrasting colors create balance and harmony while leaving a lasting impression. Deep crimson red and grayish turquoise is one of my favorite combinations. Red incites romance and passion while cyan creates harmony and relaxation—perfect for the master bedroom.   
 
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{ash}

I don't jump on every trend out there. Hell, the first time I bought leggings was last October, but even then it was just for Halloween. However, there are some trends I can't help but fall in love with, and one of them is caged sandals. I adore the look of these strap-happy shoes. They look cute with just about anything and are super fun and ultra flirty. You can find some great deals if you're on a budget, like me. I've seen plenty of pairs for under $100. You could also go shoe-crazy and buy a pair of these Christian Louboutins for $1,045. But if you do, don't tell me. I'll probably be jealous. Unless you want to let me borrow them for an evening.