Everyday Inspirations


~ a better you ~

Yep, this photo is pretty much the same as Angie's from her June 27 post. Sorry for the lack of originality. I initially had just a stack of books, but I can't talk about reading on vacation without tying in a photo. Beach + book + absolute free time = priceless!

Reading shouldn't always be something you have to do. I believe there should be times you want to read--where you look forward to scheduling it into your free time as much as (if not more than) you look forward to a Friday night on the couch with a complete season of Mad Men and a bowl of Ben and Jerry's. Isn't it the best feeling when you're thrilled to crack open a new book, to lose yourself in its pages?

I probably don't need to tell you how great reading is for you. You already know it. You already know that reading is a great escape--a way to rid your head of day-to-day worries by entering a new world, a way to open your mind to new ideas.

You probably even know that reading is great for your memory and that it keeps your mind sharp and alert. Reading improves your vocabulary and gives you a greater appreciation for the world and its incredible diversity. Reading is also a simple way to continue to educate yourself (because, really, life is all about learning).

So, come on. It's summer and you don't need any more reasons to read (though I assure you there are plenty more). Welcome to the season of warm, easy-going nights, long plane rides, and lounging by the pool. Spoil yourself by picking out a book you've always wanted to read. Relax and have fun.


~ home ~

heart locket
Sometimes you just need a little piece of home—a reminder of where you came from and who your heart belongs to. My grandpa gave this beautiful gold locket to my grandma back when they were high school sweethearts in Chicago. It's so inspiring to look at their past and see how two kids in love turned into 54 years of marriage as of tomorrow. They didn't come from prosperous homes, but they both worked hard in their education and careers to better themselves for the legacy that would follow them. This locket is not only a symbol of my grandpa's love, but the sacrifice and dedication my grandparents were willing to give to demonstrate their love for each other, their home and their family. I am honored to be a part of their legacy and I love to wear this locket to remind me of the home my heart belongs to.

~ fashion ~


I usually don't focus on a particular brand or product for a post, so I want to make it clear that I am in no way, shape, or form being paid to write this entry. My love of TOMS comes directly from me.

Last Christmas, my brother bought me my first pair of TOMS shoes (in red!). I wear them all the time and love them. Since I had some summer trips coming up, I also went out and purchased myself a pair of navy blue TOMS because I didn't want to wear running shoes (the only pair of sneakers I own). I also needed a casual pair of shoes that could hold up to hours and hours of walking and still look cute with jeans, skirts, and shorts. Enter TOMS.

The coolest thing about this shoe company, the one that keeps me coming back, is their philosophy: "With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. One for one." I love any company that was founded on the intention of giving back to the world. Bring on the shoes.

~ how to ~

Treat a sunburn
Today's inspiration comes courtesy of the sun. This weekend I went to the pool and made a couple stupid mistakes. 1) I forgot that most of my body hasn't seen the sun since my honeymoon last October and therefore needed a little extra caution and 2) I only applied sunscreen once. Now I am a lobster, red and fiery, complete with fun tan (burn) lines that show exactly which swimsuit I was wearing. I even have a nice partial tan line from the book I was reading. Before I go into how to treat a burn, may I remind you to please, please wear sunscreen and be sure to reapply. If not for the protection against cancer-causing UV rays or the threat of pre-mature wrinkles, do it so you don't look like bright red crustacean.  

{how to treat a sunburn}

1. Use aloe vera
Cut it directly from the plant if you have it as fresh aloe vera gel works better than most treatments you can buy at the store. Otherwise, use the gel. 

2. Wear loose-fitting clothing
Definitely be sure anything you wear won't irritate your skin. Loose-fitting cotton or organic materials will be best.

3. Drink lots of water
The sun dehydrates you so be sure to drink lots of fluids. Ice water is even better as it will cool down your body temperature.
4. Take an anti-inflammatory
Depending on how bad your burn is, taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen will help reduce skin inflammation, swelling and fever.

5. Keep your body cool
Take a cool bath or treat your body with a cool cloth with milk. The coolness helps soothe your burn and the milk help give your skin proteins that will help prevent more discomfort.

6. Apply lotion
Opt for unscented lotions since your skin is extra sensitive. Eucerin Calming Cream is a good one to use. Trying refrigerating your lotion for an extra cooling effect.

7. Watch what you eat
Avoid anything too spicy and hot as it can inflame your skin more and avoid alcohol as it will further dehydrate your body.

8. Stay out of the sun and protect your skin
Stay out of the sun until the burn fades. If you have to be outside wear loose-fitting long sleeve clothing or stay in the shade.

~ small inspiration ~

Buddy boy

Seriously, is there anything that can brighten up a day quicker than an animal?

My parents own two puppies (who are really full-grown dogs, but to my family will always be known as puppies): Bud and Beth. I remember when we first picked up Bud. I was still in elementary school, and my brother and I went crazy over how completely precious he is. A few years later, we added Beth, our "pound puppy," rescued from the Utah Humane Society. Both dogs have changed our lives and how we look at the world.

My puppies have made me laugh and cry, and they have been there for me for many new adventures. Bud, in particular, has a knack for knowing when I'm upset. He'll rest his chin on my shoulder and let me put my arms around him and have a good sob. Beth is my little sister bean, always smiling, always sweet, and forever flirting with my boyfriend (oh, how she loves him!). She is a miracle in so many ways, and nothing makes you happier than when she leans against your legs and asks for some love.

It amazes me how much an animal can change you for the better. I'm so very grateful for these dogs.
Beth, our sweet little girl

~ our world ~

Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state Jalisco and the center of art and culture in Western Mexico. The Gothic, Baroque, Moorish and Neoclassical architecture mimics its European sister, the Spanish city of Guadalajara. I absolutely fell in love with this city with its large public squares, many fountains, open markets, beautiful buildings and churches and modern art sculptures. The people there were so genuinely kind and I was definitely happy to have remembered my high school and college Spanish since fewer people spoke English. While we were there we enjoyed some of the best Mexican food I have ever had. Our biggest score was a taqueria where three of us ate the most delicious tacos for under $5 total. It is the home of Mariachi music and host to lots of large public concerts. There was a major concert in the city centre both nights we were there with hundreds of people dancing and singing along with the music. Despite it being the second most populous city in Mexico, there is a relaxed and peaceful air about it. Most of the times I've been to Mexico, I've been on the beach or nearby cities which are beautiful, but are often filled with American tourists. Guadalajara was wonderful because it was a chance to really see and experience the Mexican culture that I love. Los Méxicanos sure have a lot to be proud of.


~ food ~


For Father's Day, my parents treated us to a delicious surprise--salmon, grilled to perfection on a wooden plank. I've had fish cooked this way before, but I had forgotten just how good it is.

My parents bought a variety of wooden grilling planks (I've seen them available in cedar, alder, hickory, cherry, maple, and oak--here's an Amazon search). The trick to using the planks is soaking them thoroughly before putting them on the grill. The moisture helps add that smoky flavor to your food.

You don't have to use grill planks just for fish. Try your favorite meat or summer veggies and enjoy a delicious addition to your summer grilling experience.

~ a better you ~

Today's inspiration actually comes from my husband. No matter the day, there's hardly anything that makes me feel better than when I'm in his embrace with my head to his heart. Hugs express love, share unsaid feelings, make you feel secure, give comfort or reduce stress. They have the power of touch which is a scientifically-proven human need from infancy. Hugs are universal, crossing time and culture. They connect people whether they are young, old, rich, poor, male or female. They share positive energy between people whether as friends, lovers, family or acquaintances. This simplest of gestures can make such a difference for your mental and emotional health. And the best part? They're free! Hug someone today.

~ home ~

Guest Blogger: Kayla Smith
Kayla's day job is in the wholesale department at Del Sol L.C. but her true passions lie in event planning and triathlon. You can find her on the weekends with the Riehl Events creative team or standing on the podium at a local sprint triathlon. She plans to complete her first Ironman in 2012.

If you are anything like me, every time the seasons change you get itchy to re-arrange the furniture. You know, mix it up a little! And no matter what you do, there is always that one empty corner, constantly nagging you to fill it. Well, I found a solution to the nagging and the itching. I call it my seasonal vase. I create a different arrangement for each season.  

With yesterday being the first official day of summer, it is time to transition the vase from spring to summer. To make your own, simply take a stroll through your favorite craft store and look for items that remind you of summer. I was in the mood to be on a sandy beach with a margarita in my hand so I went for pieces with a tropical flair.  

Some other possible summer vases include sunflowers; mini beach balls; lemons, limes and other colorful fruit; seashells; or anything that says summer to you. 

Making a seasonal arrangement is easy, cheap, and fast. It will freshen up a room and save your relationship from the strain of asking your man to help you with the heavy lifting. Now just relax in the sun with a cold drink, admire your summery seasonal vase and contemplate what you will do for fall!
(Click photos to see the full-size image.)
Talk to you all tonight at our Mixer Mixer Twitter baking party! See the live feed here and follow us @365inspirations

~ fashion ~

A tale of bravery, damsels who can take care of themselves (thank you very much), and above all, shopping
Fashion Adventure
Today's adventure begins up in Midway, Utah where Ashley and I were working a golf tournament. We were not only excited because of the glorious day in the mountains, but most importantly, our tradition of hitting up the Park City Tanger Outlets on our way home. We finished a little early so we were even more anxious at the prospect of extra time for shopping.
Please let this road lead to Park City
At least one wrong turn later we were off the known path and following a sign with an arrow toward Park City. Surely it couldn't lead us astray. We started off pretty happy with ourselves that we had followed this lovely back road (that was still paved but with much grander scenery) to our shopping destination. Slowly the road started to climb and pavement became winding, rocky dirt paths with long drop-offs. Living most of my life in Utah I'm certainly used to mountain roads, but my car isn't the greatest for such trips and the narrow road is not for the faint-hearted. One minute we were two fashionistas salivating over the thought of our nearing trip to Banana Republic and the next we were, as Ash put it, mountain-goatin' it up the steep, hoping beyond hope that this trail would actually take us to Park City.

Top of the mountain
I tried not to take my eyes off the road lest we fall to our doom, but we were surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring scenery imaginable. Everywhere you looked there were stunning green mountains, forests of black pine, snow-capped peaks, bright white birch trees and running streams. At the top of the mountain we found a place to stop and take a couple pictures before heading back through the mountain range toward Park City. Worry not, this story has a happy ending. After a long, grueling trip for my car and lots of laughing, we made it to the outlets where we found many fashion treasures on sale. Our journey ends as we drove home, the sun beginning to set over the mountains. And we lived happily ever after, to the end of our day.

Talk to you all tomorrow at our Mixer Mixer Twitter baking party! See the live feed here and follow us @365inspirations