Trader Joe’s Christmas Haul! (Blogmas Day 9)

So it’s not an unknown fact that I’m literally obsessed with anything sweet, namely chocolate. If I could eat dessert after every meal and keep thin with clear skin, I would gladly partake. However, that is definitely not practical. For the holidays though, I do tend to splurge and let myself enjoy all the Christmas goodies. Trader Joe’s, which is a healthy grocery store here in the states, always comes out with amazing holiday themed snacks. Around Halloween they always have pumpkin or apple spice options and during Christmas of course they have tons of peppermint, hot chocolate, and toffee items. You basically can’t control yourself and I’m kind of okay with that. For today’s post, I have a huge Trader Joe’s haul for your guys with some of the best Christmas treats they have to offer, or some of my favorites at least!

IMG_2854.jpeg

IMG_2838.jpeg

Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s

We’re going to start of strong with some of my absolute favorites. Most people around here know what Joe-Joe cookies are (a “healthy” alternative to Oreo cookies). During Christmas though, the store releases a peppermint version, which taste exactly like thin mints from the Girl Scouts. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up eating the whole box. Especially dipped in some almond or rice milk, you might end up in trouble.

Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe’s

Another twist on these classic cookies are the dark chocolate versions. Basically completely covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with peppermint chunks. These are much more filling but probably one of the most delicious treats you’ll ever have. One or two will definitely satisfy you, which is good because they are quite high in calories. I’d recommend sharing these with friends or family because they’re simply way too tempting!

Peppermint Pretzel Slims

These are a great little snack if you want something sweet but also a little light. Their normal slim pretzels are covered in creamy white chocolate and again covered in peppermint pieces. These would be great snacks during a Christmas party, come to think of it! I really enjoyed all of these products during my college days. It was always so fun to shop around Trader Joe’s and have some desserts waiting for me after a long day in class.

IMG_2849.jpeg

Mini Gingerbread Men

I had actually forgot these existed when I saw them in the store! These little gingerbread men are too cute and again would be great at a Christmas party or at a family get together. The kids are bound to love them, as well as the adults because they taste so freaking good! The backs are dipped in white fudge icing and umm…who doesn’t love that?? They come in quite a big box so you’d probably only need one or two depending on the size of your party. For the little ones, these are great to leave by the fireplace for Santa 😉

IMG_2846.jpeg

IMG_2843.jpeg

Hot Chocolate, Marshmallows, and Whipped Cream

Okay, this is a little sneak peak of a post I’m planning but I couldn’t leave Trader Joe’s without the necessary components to make the perfect cup of hot cocoa. I’m the queen of hot chocolate around the holidays, and there’s nothing better than a big cup on a cold night while watching Christmas movies. Trader Joe’s offered an organic hot chocolate option. There are individual packets in the box that you simply add water to. There’s so many other ways to make hot chocolate, but this is the much easier option if you’re making multiple cups for your family. Of course, topped with some whipped cream (either in a can like this or homemade), with some mini marshmallows, you can’t go wrong!

IMG_2840.jpeg

Peppermint Bark Popcorn

This is another great option for the kiddos. Not only because of the cute packaging, but because of the actual product. Popcorn covered in chocolate with peppermint pieces! Luckily it comes in a small bag because honestly I would be all over these! In college and even at work, popcorn is the perfect snack to hold you over before lunch or dinner. Why not make it a little more festive with white chocolate and peppermint?? Sounds like a good deal to me!

Ginger Bread Spice Granola

Alright so here’s a (somewhat) healthy option for you guys! We have to at least attempt to keep a good diet around the holidays…right? Granola mixed in with candied ginger and pecans is the perfect topping for açaí bowls or coconut yogurt. I’ve been eating less açaí bowls since summer passed, but it’s still one of my favorite breakfast options. This granola is the perfect blend of summer and winter and I’m here for it! Not to mention, the packaging is gorgeous and so perfect for the holidays.

I hope you guys enjoyed this grocery haul! It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted one, but I hope it helps with your shopping list this Christmas! I’d definitely recommend any of these items, they would work great for a gift basket or as a snack before Christmas dinner. Let me know which one of these products you’d be dying to try! Talk to you all soon! xx

signature.png

Follow my socials! Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Tumblr | Facebook

Advertisements

All About My Hair! (Products, Styling, & How I Keep It Long & Healthy)

Hey everyone! Hope you had a fantastic weekend. It’s Sunday and almost time to start a new work week. I know sometime it’s hard to face Monday, but I have a new video out that I think you guys will love! You all have been leaving me a lot of comments on Instagram about my hair, and I so appreciate it. I honestly don’t think too much about my hair but I figured since there were some questions about it, I would let you in on some tips and tricks. Check out the video below, drop a like (if you liked) and subscribe if this is the first you’re seeing of my videos!

In the video, I let you guys know what type of hair I have as well as what I ask for when I go into the salon. I’m pretty particular about the tone of my hair, as I always like it on the cooler side. I’ve also found a few holy grail products that I’ve been using for years, so I left a full list of the products I mentioned in the description of this video. So in case you want to try them out for yourselves, it’ll be easy to search! Let me know what you thought of this video down in the comments or if you have any other questions. I’ll be reading through and answering all of them! xx

signature.png

Find me here! Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Tumblr | Facebook

How I’m Trying to Improve My Health

Hey guys! Happy Sunday and I hope you are all doing fantastic! Since I am so busy Monday through Thursday with work, I love taking time on the weekend to take care of myself and focus on what truly makes my heart sing. One of those things quite recently has been working out and finding different ways to get my body moving. For today’s post I want to talk a little bit about my health journey and where I am now. My hope for this post is that it gives you fresh ideas on how to better your own health and give you motivation to improve solely for yourself and to feel good!

My Active & Healthy Past

As I grew up, specifically through elementary school and junior high, I was an extremely active kid. I tried every sport my school had to offer and I played soccer for 8 years, pretty well if I might add. Soccer (or football as some of you out there call it) was my sport and I put a lot of time into it. I worked up the levels and ended up playing club soccer as a forward or midfielder. With practices at least twice a week for a couple hours each, I knew how to work out and push myself alongside my teammates. Through sports, I was taught how to stretch correctly and how to condition my body to run farther, faster, and beat the competition.

I never had health issues when I was younger, which I was very blessed with. I also never had rock hard abs, probably because I was young and exercised for the sake of having fun and being with my team, not to build muscle or improve my still small body. My family didn’t eat fast food very often and my mom cooked almost everyday. The one flaw I (and some of my family) has always had is a sugar addiction. That stuff is actually like a drug and it’s still something I struggle with everyday.

A Downhill Fall

As high school arrived, I quit playing soccer. There were many reasons for my quitting but one being I was the smallest on the field and although I was the fastest, I was getting hurt often by taller and stronger girls. I decided to pick up tennis through my school (a little reluctantly I will say) and it was a much slower pace than the sport I was used to. I was also growing up and didn’t change my eating habits. I’m sure a lot of you can relate: as you get older you MUST change your eating habits. There is no way you can eat like a child and have a slim figure in your teens or 20’s, am I right? I also ended up on birth control because of my sever acne. I’ve touched upon this topic a bit on my blog, but let me know if you’d like a separate post about it. It’s something I’m quite open about.  One of the side effects is weight gain and while looking back at photos now, I can see when it physically hit me. Long story short, I wasn’t that fit little girl anymore and I don’t think I even realized it.

College Years & Health Realizations

Without me even knowing, I had gained a bit of weight. It snuck up on me out of no where and I honestly didn’t even understand to what extent until college. People around me were going to the gym very often or taking workout classes, which wasn’t even on my mind in the slightest. It wasn’t really until junior and senior year that I started taking my health a little more seriously. I was uncomfortable in my body and didn’t know exactly how to fix it. The summer before my junior year I started researching veganism and although I never went vegan, it taught me a lot about food and health. That summer I did see very small changes once I put the effort in. I was going to the gym as consistently as possible (every other day) and trying to eat as healthy as I could. At one point I completely cut out eggs and tried to eat minimal cheese. I grew up on almond and rice milk so drinking cow’s milk has never been an interest for me.

The summer before senior year, I went to Europe as many of you know. I lost about 6 pounds in those three weeks simply by walking 5-6 miles everyday and eating strictly three meals a day. That is what our schedule allowed for when we were abroad and I barely noticed I was dropping some pounds. Of course, when I got back to the states I wasn’t exercising nearly as consistently as I was in Europe and snacking in between meals. I gained those pounds back, which was extremely disappointing for me. Although I hadn’t lost a massive amount of weight, I hadn’t seen a difference in the scale like that in a long time, shockingly. But it gave me a sense of what worked and what I needed to do.

Senior year I had a gym membership and started going as often as I could. It started to become a bigger part of my life and I could slowly see the difference it was making. Although these changes were tiny and most times I couldn’t see any change on the scale, I was feeling better in my body and stronger overall. Feeling strong was an amazing feeling and it became addicting. Of course, with classes and my graphic design portfolio project I still wasn’t as consistent as I could be.

What’s Up with My Health Currently?

Similar to the summer before, I went to Europe again this year and had a similar situation happen. I came back and had again lost 5 or 6 pounds. This time, I was determined to keep it off and use it as a kicking off point for more weight loss. Going to the gym or going on runs is increasingly becoming more important to me. While I’m still getting used to my work schedule, I work out at least two times a week. Which I know isn’t enough if I want to see significant changes, but I’m in no rush. If this has to be a slow process in order for it to become a permanent lifestyle, so be it. I’m in this for my own health and I know it’s going to be a bumpy road.

I’m still not at the health level I want to be at, but I’m taking the time to learn what works for me. I work so hard at the gym and actually enjoy going now! I like challenging myself to do better and push it a little further each time. Another way I’ve been working out is by attending classes and genuinely investing in my health. I recently took a spin class which kicked my butt so hard but was a great way to switch up my workout routine. I’ve also been looking into barre, yoga, and pilates classes. Some days after work I will also go on a beach walk, which is only about 2 miles but so beautiful at sunset! Find things that interest you and will add variety to your life. Hopefully you’ll find something you enjoy so much that it won’t feel like exercise!

sunset.JPG

Long story short, I’m still on my health journey and I have a ways to go but I’m determined to make this a lifestyle and not fall into fad diets that don’t last. I want to be healthy and live a long life. That doesn’t mean I’ll slip up once in a while, but that’s where my mind has been lately. I think one of the most exciting things is noticing my clothes fit just a tad better and I feel more comfortable overall! Here’s to your health and kicking some butt! Let’s have a conversation down in the comments: let me know your favorite ways to workout or some of your favorite healthy meals to make! Talk to you all soon! xx

signature.png

My socials: Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Tumblr | Facebook

Healthy Alternatives for the Junk Foods You LOVE!

Hey everyone! So if you’ve kept up with me the last few months, you’d know I got my very first apartment! With this new beginning and the dramatic change from dorm living to apartment living, I’ve tried to make personal changes as well. Eating better has been one of my main goals and I’ve tried to stick to it as much as possible. When I did my first big grocery shop for the apartment, I stayed away from junky foods and forced myself to only buy what is healthy. Because if it’s not in the apartment, I don’t have the opportunity to indulge in unhealthy things. With McDonald’s and a 24/7 Mexican restaurant right on the corner, I’ve had to make an effort to not drive through when I’m feeling lazy and drained from the day. So even though I’m exhausted very often, I’ve made myself choose the healthy options and cook if need be. So I thought I’d make a mini grocery haul for you guys, to show you how easy it can be to make the healthy (and delicious) choices. Here are some great alternatives to foods I need in my life.

6.jpg

5.jpg

Okay I need to begin with this product because of how amazing it is! As a college student knows (and any working person, really) having time for breakfast can be rare. Getting to those early morning classes barely gives you enough time to apply makeup and get dressed. However breakfast is a very important start to your day and I’m always bummed when I can’t fit it in. Yogurt is a great thing to grab on the go, but the dairy isn’t so great for your skin or your health in general. I have the fix for you! Coconut milk yogurt people! There is no dairy in these yogurts, making it aye okay for your skin and vegan as well! I picked this blueberry flavored one from Trader Joe’s and I kid you not, it is BETTER than regular yogurt. It’s sweet, the perfect consistency, and totally healthy! I’ve tried another brand of coconut milk based yogurt and it was good, but this brand is 100 times better. I cannot rave enough about it. The next time you’re at Trader Joe’s or any grocery store, look for yogurt like these! I wouldn’t recommend anything to you guys that I didn’t think you would like, so please try this out and let me know what you think!!

7.jpg

8.jpg

If you’re anything like me, you absolutely, 100%, without a doubt NEED chocolate in your life. I’m not sure how I would function without it. Unfortunately, I’m sure without chocolate and sugar in general, my skin would be clearer and I’d lose weight a lot faster. So instead of going to Target and picking up the family size bag of Buncha Crunch that I so desperately want everyday, I’ve been leaning more towards a bit of dark chocolate or Powerberries. I’ve known about Powerberries for as long as I can remember, and they are to die for! Essentially what they are is an acai, blueberry, pomegranate, and cranberry ball dipped in dark chocolate. They are the perfect soft consistency that you want candy to be, while being much healthier than actual candy or chocolate bars. Dark chocolate (when eaten in moderation) is actually beneficial to your health. I am not a health expert by any means, but this is just a fact I’ve heard. I picked this up at Trader Joe’s and of course I have to mention the packaging. I love the colors and the way it’s designed and I always know the product when I see it.

10.jpg

11.jpg

Another one of my favorite food products! And this one is vegan as well! Earth Balance is a fantastic brand that offers organic products, including this alternative for butter. I don’t know about you guys, but I love butter! Spread on a baguette before dinner, on toast, or used on a pan to make eggs, I seem to need it for so many things. However, butter is a diary product and again not good for your skin. This Earth Balance “fake butter” is the perfect replacement and tastes exactly like regular butter. This always seems to be in my fridge at home, and for some reason I just recently found out it’s fake butter! That’s how similar it is to the real thing. The product in the red container is even soy free, since soy isn’t very good for you either. (What IS good for us nowadays??) As I mentioned before, these products are completely vegan and also Non-GMO.

3.jpg

4.jpg

One item specifically I’ve been trying to cut out is white bread. I absolutely love my white bread, but there are other choices I could make that would be more beneficial to my overall health. Rice cakes are a great alternative, and you can do a lot more with them! I love to put peanut butter, jelly, and banana slices on top of these which makes for an awesome breakfast or a quick afternoon snack between classes. Other great toppings could be peanut butter, almonds, and agave or even some avocados with chia seeds on top. Rice cakes are cool too because they are 100% vegan and even gluten free! Such a great combination and so delicious as well!

1.jpg

2.jpg

Now if I really can’t escape the need for bread, there is a very healthy option that doesn’t make me feel as bad. Ezekiel bread is the perfect alternative for you! Not to mention, the Bible verse on the front and the little dove in the corner is too stinkin’ cute! Again, this is an organic product that I picked up from Trader Joe’s. There are different variations of this bread, but I tend to lean towards the low sodium version. I’ll be honest, it’s not as flavorful as white bread, but your body will thank you for making the healthier decision, right? Right!

9.jpg

So this next product isn’t one you can necessarily buy in stores. It’s one you can make right at home! I’ve seen so many people do this so I thought I’d whip it up myself: frozen banana ice cream! It was so simple to make: take a couple of bananas, milk (I chose rice milk instead of cow’s milk), and whatever other flavor you want, blend it up, and freeze the mixture. It’s that easy! For the combination above, I chose to add in frozen strawberries to make banana strawberry ice cream. I also made two other flavors: banana coconut and peanut butter banana. So easy and very refreshing! Comment down below if you’ve ever tried this out!

So that’s all for today, let me know if you guys enjoy these food inspired posts or if you’d want more recipe suggestions. Hope you all are having a great end to your week!

Talkative Tuesday: Disneyland Adventures + Mishaps!

Talkative Tuesday: Disneyland Adventures + Mishaps!

Hello loves! These past couple weeks have been so hectic for me with school. Mainly because it’s Finals week and all my art projects have been due at once. My Graphic Design classes seem to get harder and harder and challenging me more in the best of ways. I’ve definitely learned more this semester than I ever thought I would. But with that comes stress and sometimes even anxiety for a lot of people. However, through all the chaos we all need to try to find some peace or let ourselves have some fun! For me, my boyfriend and I had been planning a trip to Disneyland and it was the perfect escape for me. So instead of whining more about the difficulties of being a college student, I’d love to share my Disney day with you all.

So I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this on the blog before, but I pretty much grew up right next to Disneyland. It was always so much fun to go even though I’d been there dozens of times. For those who live in Southern California, there is still so much magic in that place even though it is so common for us. Even now at 20 years old, I get as excited as I did when I was a kid. I prepare the night before and pack a bag with snacks, extra clothes, etc. We leave very early in the morning to get there at opening or a little after opening. We have our day planned out and ready to go before we even get there.

*Pro tip: If you get there at opening and have a Park Hopper Ticket: go DIRECTLY to California Adventure to get your fast pass for World of Color and the Cars ride. Unless of course you don’t care for World of Color and want to miss it or want to wait in a two hour line for Cars. Both of which I highly do not recommend.

Of course we went straight away to get our World of Color fast passes and actually decided to skip the Cars ride that day. We then walked back over to the Disneyland side to take some photos and get on our first ride: the Matterhorn! Now here’s where the mishap kicks in. My boyfriend sat in front of me on the ride and had a hat on. He didn’t take it off because we have never lost anything on a ride (*foreshadowing). The very first dip we take, his hat flies off at high speed and disappears into the icy slopes of the Matterhorn for the snow monster to enjoy. Naturally, I thought this was freaking hilarious while he didn’t think it was so funny. Later of course it made for a funny story and that kind of stuff happens every day at the park.

After we continued to go on all our favorite rides including Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Alice in Wonderland. I’m probably forgetting some but when you’re at Disneyland for 14 hours straight you go on A LOT of attractions. Between seeing the sights, witnessing a couple of Disney proposals, and reminiscing about old trips to the park, you don’t realize how much you walk around and get some decent exercise. We ended up walking over 8 miles that day!

It was then time for World of Color so we made our way back to California Adventure for the Little Mermaid ride, Goofy’s Sky School, and other rides. World of Color, for those of you who don’t know, snippets of Disney movies are synced up with music and projected onto water that shoots into the sky. Lights and fire (lots of it) are also included. It sounds crazy, but I honestly would recommend it if you’re ever in California Adventure. It’s part of the magic of the park and great for families!

Lastly, we went back for about the third time to Disneyland to get to our reservations at the Blue Bayou restaurant. This is a lovely New Orleans themed restaurant inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It has a great reputation and AMAZING food. Although it is a little pricey, the service is excellent and the atmosphere makes it seem like you’re sitting late at night in New Orleans. It’s very romantic and one of my favorite little spots in Disneyland. If you ever go, order the Mint Julip drink and if you’re gluten free, ask for gluten free bread (it’s so good!) After a great dinner and one more ride on Pirates, it was time for us to head home. At this point, it was about 11:30 and we were both exhausted.

I finally made it home and completely knocked out. These Disneyland trips make for some of the best memories that I have and I hope all of you can experience that too. Hopefully this gave you a good list of rides to go on and places to try. Let me know in the comments what your favorite thing to do at Disneyland is if you’ve ever been there! Even if you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer them. Hope you all enjoyed this rather long Talkative Tuesday, but I thought I’d share! Have a great week! ❤

*Cue the cheesy couple pic in front of the ferris wheelVSCO Cam-1.jpg

Pumpkin Pancake Apple Rings Recipe!

Pumpkin Pancake Apple Rings Recipe!

Hi friends! I’m so glad I’m finally getting the chance to post. I’ve missed blogging so much while my life just seems to get busier and busier. I couldn’t pass up writing about this amazing recipe though! I found this Apple Rings recipe from Facebook and altered it very slightly to make it gluten free and easy for anyone to recreate! It’s perfect for the fall season, especially with Thanksgiving coming up, but also for busy moms who want to whip up a quick and healthy snack for the kids. So let’s jump right on into the recipe:

Items you will need:

  1. Apples (if you’re making these for multiple people, buy A LOT of apples)
  2. Gluten free pumpkin pancake mix (you can buy this at Trader Joe’s)
    • you will need 1 egg, butter, and water for the pancake mix
  3. Cinnamon
  4. Maple Syrup

PicMonkey Collage-6.jpg

To start off this recipe, clean your apples and cut them horizontally to create thin apple circles. Next you must create rings out of these circles but stamping a hole in the middle of the apples. You can do this by simply cutting a circle with a knife or in my case, I took a tiny circular measuring cup and punched a hole out with it. Refer to the photo below for exactly what they should look like!

VSCO Cam-3-1.jpg

Second, mix up your pancake batter. The Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes have instructions for how to put it together. Only 1 egg, melted butter, water, and the mix is needed. Make sure not to over mix the batter! Now it’s time to place your apple rings into the pancake mix and place them on your pan. I use a low heat since the pancakes tend to cook super fast and it’s easy to burn them. Flip the apple rings like you would a normal pancake.

PicMonkey Collage-6 copy.jpg

Once they’re cooked, place them on a plate and drizzle some cinnamon over them to add some extra flavor! Add some maple syrup on the side and voila! They’re done! They can be eaten just like waffle sticks and dipped into the syrup by hand. It’s a perfect breakfast or snack for kids before school or on an autumn Sunday morning.

VSCO Cam-3.jpg

This recipe is 100% gluten free and safe for anyone around you who stays away from gluten. But it can also be made with whatever pancake batter you like, even if it’s not gluten free. It’s a very flexible recipe and took about 10-15 minutes to make. The more you make them, the better they taste! Let me know if you try out this recipe by commenting below! Hope you guys are having a great November and had a fabulous Halloween! ❤

Visiting Julian, California!

Visiting Julian, California!

Hey everyone, happy October! I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I’ve made a post. I miss blogging so much, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, this year has been the craziest yet! Between design jobs for my school, homework, and keeping up a social life and my relationship, I’m bummed my blog has been pretty bare. But I’m back today with an exciting adventure post!

I have been dying to go to a place called Julian for a while now. Julian is located east of San Diego and is made up of one single street. The road up to Julian is fairly mountainous and winding. To be honest, I got pretty car sick, but I’m so glad we went. My boyfriend and I took the couple hour trip up there for a fall experience that we usually don’t get living by the ocean. I’m thankful for the sea and living where I do, but I do wish we had more differentiation between the seasons. Julian gets snow during some parts of winter and is known for having that autumnal feel. Everyone knows that you go to Julian for pie and apple picking!

Once we got there, we explored the street and I tried the infamous Mom’s Pies! When you walk in to this little shop, you smell all the delicious pies and get a nice homey feel. There was a line out the door but the wait was worth it! I ended up getting an apple pie with flakey crust. And let me tell you, this was probably the best pie I’ve ever had in my life and I wish I could’ve taken some home for my family. If you’re ever in Julian, please please please stop by Mom’s Pies or another pie shop there. There are many trinket shops along the Julian street to explore, but other than that, that’s about all there is on the street. It’s great for a day trip, but I’m not sure what you’d do there for an entire weekend.

We also ended up going apple picking, going to pumpkin patches, and through a corn maze. These activities you can do on the road up to Julian at little farms. Apple picking was so fun and the apples were so delicious and fresh! I actually ended up being allergic to the apple trees, but #noregrets! It was still a great experience, regardless. The corn maze was also super fun and didn’t take too long to get out of. I imagine at night, it would be MUCH creepier. But this one was for families to enjoy. I loved seeing all the pumpkins and the Halloween decorations around the stores and the farms, so you’ll see plenty of that below. By now you’re probably over reading about these little excursions and want to see the pictures. Well don’t worry, I took PLENTY and they’re all down below! Check them out!

I definitely recommend taking a trip to Julian if you’re in the Southern California area! It was an autumnal dream and I’d love to go there when it gets colder! It’s an awesome place for families and if you want to take a day trip somewhere. Happy adventuring!