Miami Beach Weekend

Finally getting around to writing about our weekend trip to Miami Beach. WHAT A WEEKEND! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that the weekend started off with a bang because Sam PROPOSED. I cannot wait for this next season of my life and to share it with Sam.

So obviously we had an absolute blast the entire weekend eating and drinking our way through Miami Beach. I would recommend every place we went to dinner, so here are the details:

Where We Stayed:
View of the pool from our room
The bathroom could not be ANY cuter
I was in blush pink heaven

We stayed at The Plymouth Hotel. This place is adorable. It’s a few blocks off the beach, has a gorgeous pool, the rooms are PERFECT (think pink, white, SO in right now), the staff was welcoming and recognized us when we walked in and out, and the sushi restaurant in the hotel was delicious. The location seemed perfect for us. Not crazy, close to tons of bars and restaurants. Highly recommend. You get two beach chairs every day at the beach included with your room, and you can rent an umbrella or cabana for the day. So even though the hotel is not directly on the water, we still had all the amenities of a hotel right on the beach.

Where We Ate:

Probably my second favorite part of the trip. (The proposal being my first favorite, of course.)

Chotto Matte

Chotto Matte – this place was INSANE. We had reservations the night we got there (the day we got engaged), and I wouldn’t have wanted to eat anywhere else. The next time we go back to Miami Beach, Sam and I already agreed we have to eat here. The décor is amazing, the service was impeccable, and the food was unlike anything we’ve ever had. Tapas style, Japanese-Peruvian style dishes. Menu tip – you will most likely have no idea what the food even is or where to begin. We (ok Sam) decided we should get the “Nikkei Sharing Menu II” and it was the best decision. All planned for you. They knew we got engaged because one of my sweet friends sent us champagne at dinner (so thoughtful!!) so for desert we had this huge platter with a sparkler. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this place.

Espanola Way

Dress

Havana 1957 – Sam was insistent on Cuban food during the trip. This place delivered. We went to the location on Espanola Way, which is a pedestrian street. All the restaurants had huge outdoor seating areas, it felt like we were in Europe. Highly recommend the Passion Fruit Mojito.

Prime Seafood – So we had intended to eat at Joe’s Stone Crab, but we got there at 6 and there was already a two hour wait (they don’t take reservations). We really wanted seafood and found this place. They gave great recommendations on what to order, huge portions, cool/fancy vibe, another great restaurant.

Where We Drank:

Sweet Liberty – three words: HAPPY HOUR OYSTERS. Yep, 95 cent oysters. delicious drinks. Cool bar. And just 2 blocks from the hotel we stayed at.

A La Folie Café – on Espanola Way, this was an adorable, quiet French bar. We got a drink here before getting dinner at Havana 1957.

What I Wore:

During the days, I pretty much just wore swimsuits and coverups. At night I wanted to dress it up a bit, so I used Rent the Runway. I recently decided to go with the Unlimited package where you get four items at one time and can swap items as often as you want. It allowed me to wear a new dress every night PLUS a pair of adorable Lele Sadoughi earrings. Will link items to purchase if interested.

Swimsuits:

Swimsuit; Sunglasses are Forever 21 (no longer on their website), similar ones ; Necklace

Swimsuit top; Swimsuit bottoms; Sunglasses; Headband

Coverups:

All these items are old, but shirt is from Forever 21 (sized up 2 sizes for the large fit), bag is H&M, sandals are Haviana from about a million years ago.

Also old, beach pants are from Forever 21 and tee is from Anthropologie; Headband

Nighttime:

Dress – I can’t find it for sale on any website, but they have it in different prints for purchase. I LOVED this dress; Necklaces

Dress; Shoes; Jacket; Bag; Earrings

 

We had an AMAZING weekend that was fun yet relaxing. We ate, we drank, we laid on the beach and by the pool. We started off engaged life pretty well if you ask me.

How I Prep for a New Year

A new year is approaching, and with that is a sense of new beginnings. Although I don’t really like the term “resolution,” I do like to make a few goals for myself in the coming year. Anyone else?

So I did a little research to get a better sense of the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing. According to my sources (google lol), it looks like making New Year’s Resolutions has been around since the Babylonians, some FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AGO. And the most common resolutions now adays?? You could probably guess most if not all of these: diet or exercise more, lose weight, save more and spend less, quit smoking, spend more time with family, learn a new skill or hobby, be less stress (I have to laugh at this one), get organized, travel more, read more, exercise more, and my personal favorite *drum roll please*: live life to the fullest.  I don’t mean to pick on anyone if this are some things you would normally make as a resolution. Really! I just need a little more direction than these general ideas. This can seem so general and directionless.

I think making new years resolutions is a bit “wishy-washy.” So I don’t call them resolutions. I prefer to make “goals” of ways that I can improve aspects of myself: physical, mental, spiritual, etc.

Last year, I wrote down a few goals in my planner. I didn’t have to be achieving my goal right away; I slowly work at them over weeks or months. Last year’s goals were:

  1. Read more books
  2. Pray every day (like really PRAY and talk to God for some time)
  3. Workout a minimum of 4 days/week
  4. Form healthful eating habits

Within these, I made some specifics or examples of where I wanted to see myself. This year, my goals seem to be a lot of the same. I don’t think that means I “failed” at my goals last year, but some were still a little hard. So here they are:

Goals for 2020:
  1. Stretch every day- an idea from Sam actually when we were stretching before a run and both realized it’s hard to touch our toes/felt very tight. This goal we are going to work on together. Whether just a few minutes of stretching or taking a yoga class, we want to stretch every day.
  2. Read at least 1 book per month – I did read more last year! Before last year, I didn’t really read much for pleasure because of being in school and taking my boards… everything I read was school/professional related! So 2019 was just a year to get back to reading more for myself. I didn’t read quite as much as I wanted, so I’m setting a more specific goal this year that I think if achievable. If it gets too easy, I’ll modify my goal later on.
  3. Grow in faith – pray daily and use a daily devotional. I just ordered this devotional. It’s recommended by both Chronicles of Frivolity and Lonestar Southern so I’m sure it’s good! Very excited to try something new to hopefully improve my spiritual life.
  4. Form healthy eating and workout habits. A few of the specifics under this category:
    1. Eat fewer processed foods
    2. Workout at least 4 days/week (this was a good goal last year for me. Some weeks it was hard to work out that much, once I was training for my half-marathon it was an easy goal. Four days a week is a good balance, personally.)
    3. Eat healthy portions
  5. Write more blog posts – I’ve sort of fallen off the writing portion of this whole “blog journey,” but I want to get better at it. It may start small with once a week but maybe I’ll really challenge myself to share even more. This will definitely be one of those goals that will change over the course of the year. So stay tuned!

Who else is ready for a new year?? What are your resolutions or goals?

How I’m Strengthening My Nails

Some of you may remember a couple weeks back when I shared on my Instagram stories that my nails are getting very thin. Well first off, thank you to all of the suggestions/replies to my story! I really appreciate the feedback; it has helped so much. I also got quite a few people saying “same girl, help!” So I’m going to share what I’m doing in hopes that it may help some other people as well. I also think I will make another most in a few months to see if what I’m doing has really helped, so stay tuned.

I’ve done a little research (pharmacist here, remember?), and I summarized some of the key players for healthy nails.

First off: a few things to DO. The first is to be careful about water and chemicals around your nails; these things can weaken your nails. This means I’ll be using rubber gloves to clean more often and keeping a hand cream to keep my hands and nails moisturized. The next thing pretty much EVERY place I read suggested: use a soft nail file. Filing your nails actually weakens them.

And now for the important vitamins to have strong healthy nails (the part I wanted to mainly focus on for myself):

  1. BIOTIN BIOTIN BIOTIN. Literally everything I read mentioned biotin. Biotin is found in dairy products, salmon, nuts, avocado, and sweet potatoes. A biotin supplement is never a bad idea either. I already take a biotin supplement, but it was good to know that it must be pretty important, so I’ll keep up with part of my routine.
  2. Iron. Iron is most simply needed to provide your cells with oxygen. You need oxygen for healthy nails. Therefore, iron is important! Iron can be found in meats, but more so in red meats, dark leafy vegetables like spinach, beans, and fortified cereals.
    1. Also, your body absorbs iron better when consumed at the same meal as Vitamin C. AND vitamin C is important in the production of collagen, which is important for hair, skin, and nails. Think citrus fruits, tomatoes, and green veggies. So if you’re thinking of adding iron, don’t forget to look at Vitamin C.
  3. Magnesium. Magnesium’s main importance related to your nails is that it is involved in protein synthesis. Magnesium is found in whole wheat, eggs, dark leafy veggies, quinoa, and others.
  4. Protein. Nails are made of keratin, which is made of protein. Therefore, having enough protein in your diet is ESSENTIAL to having stronger nails. Protein is found in a lot of things, but most commonly you think of meat, fish, dairy, legumes, soy, and eggs.

There are several other vitamins and nutrients that help your nails, but I just wanted to summarize the ones I thought seemed the most important for my thin nails. This website was EXTREMELY helpful! https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamins-for-nails

So what am I actually doing to make these kinds of positive changes? Well first off, I bought the Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin, & Nails Gummies. They have collagen, biotin, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. The taste is pretty good. I’m going to keep taking my daily multi-vitamin and 10,000 mcg of biotin as well.

I did a pretty thorough review of the labels of foods in my apartment. And you know what? I think my diet could use a little improvement! I noticed I have essentially no or very little iron.  Now I did not go to the doctor or have blood work done, so I can’t know this for sure. But based on the vitamins I get from my multi vitamin and the food I eat on a regular basis, I would bet I am pretty low in iron. So I have made a conscious effort to eat more iron. Ways I’m doing this, you ask? Well before, I pretty much only kept romaine lettuce at home to make salads. Now I have the 50/50 spinach and spring mix.  I am trying to eat more red meat (beef tacos, hamburger helper because I am quite the chef haha,etc). Also, I used to drink a lot of orange juice when I was growing up but hardly ever have it anymore. So now I am keeping orange juice at home to have with some of my meals.

I am also trying to eat more protein. I’m a snacker; meaning I could eat snacks and appetizers all day every day instead of a sit down meal. This isn’t too good when I look at the amount of protein I probably eat. It’s also much easier for me to snack at work because I do not get breaks. Being at work from 7:30 am to 9 pm can be tough on my food choices, so I am trying to pack foods like Greek yogurt and healthier granola bars to eat throughout the day along with my sandwiches or small meals I eat while working. I am specifically eating more meals with meat. (not a vegetarian here, but I’m perfectly happy with a meatless pasta, pizza, flatbread, sandwiches, and so on!) I’m adding more chicken to my lunch salads and making eggs for breakfast a couple days a week. Overall, I am trying to just eat what most people would just consider “healthier.” To me, it means my eating is more balanced and conscious.

I still have not had my nails done in these last few weeks. I did purchase a few polishes to use at home right now and if I need to take these “breaks” in the future. I already know I’ll have my nails done again soon with some travel and the holidays coming up. I will keep you updated on this

Helpful websites:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14621-iron-rich-foods-and-anemia/management-and-treatment

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322272.php#types-of-iron

https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/nails/a19686863/how-to-make-your-nails-grow-longer-stronger/

https://www.thehealthy.com/beauty/nail-care/how-to-make-your-nails-stronger/

Chicken Enchilada Soup

The temperatures have dropped so it was finally time for me to pull out the crock pot and make one of my favorite soups the other day! First, I’ll be completely honest. Cooking is something I am working on. I struggle with planning something in advance and taking the time to prepare it. Slowly but surely I will get better at this *I tell myself*. But that being said, I have never messed up this recipe, so there’s no way you could either! When I can successfully cook a meal that does not involve anything prepackaged, frozen, or half-way already done for me, this is a major win.

There’s so many things I love about this recipe. First off, it’s a Mexican inspired soup. (YUM!) Next, it’s made in the crock pot (or Instant Pot if you’re fancier/cooler than me haha). And it’s healthy. It’s paleo and gluten-free; so it’s a great option for almost anyone.

*Side note: I tried to eat more paleo meals for a while. My goal was about 50-60% of what I ate was paleo. Even this goal was unrealistic for me considering how much I love grains and dairy (honestly dairy is something I love to my core). But, oh well. This recipe is amazing even if you aren’t on a specific dietary plan.*

It only takes 30 minutes to prep. Easy-peesy! And you know how crock pot meals make your whole kitchen smell delicious?!?! This one is no exception.

Recipe: https://realsimplegood.com/crockpot-chicken-enchilada-soup/

I grabbed everything in a quick run to Trader Joe’s the day before. I used chicken broth instead of bone broth because it was cheaper, and it still turned out great! Oh and of course added a little bread on the side. I love dipping bread in soup.

I hope you enjoy! Please share if you have any other crock pot recipes you love. I want to try more crock pot recipes this fall and winter.

How to Rock a Blush Velvet Couch

If you’re like me, the moment you realize you have total freedom when decorating your apartment, the Instagram and Pinterest searches go CRAZY. I had very little of my own furniture when I moved into my apartment in Winston, so that was a little scary. I needed A LOT! (To put into perspective, I had a bed, a dresser, and a few decorating pieces. That was all.) So I hit up all the “cheaper” furniture and decorating stores you can think of. IKEA, Target, HomeGoods; I was there! So when it came to decorating the living area, I knew I wanted a blush pink couch.

Would you believe me if I told you almost everyone gave me backlash for this idea? Yep. My sister tried to tell me how impractical this idea was; my dad simply rolled his eyes and laughed because that’s just classic me wanting a pink couch. But I had quite the comeback, and it was this: “how many times in my life will I have no one else to think of when I’m decorating? There will probably never be another time when it’s my opinion alone that matters the most. No compromising on colors, size, comfort. Any of it! Just me!” and with that, everyone just smiled when I told them I was looking for a blush pink velvet couch.

T couch is small, the perfect size for just me and a friend. I love neutrals anyway, so I knew it would be easy to find simple accents to toss around and finish the space. So below I detailed the spaces in the room and how I u completed the look for a chic, girly feel.

Couch area: a throw is a MUST for me. I love blankets! This was a gift from the dearest people who I just adore as a moving present. I tossed a couple throw pillows I already had on the other end and love the simple yet fun pop that the Dalmatian pillow and faux fur bring!

Rug/coffee table area: I still wanted to mix some other colors into the space so that it wasn’t just pink. I already had the ginger jars and love the look of pink and blue. I found this rug online for such a good price. Looking back I think I could have gotten it slightly larger because it is a large open room, but I don’t think it looks bad (and this size was in my budget lol). I love the clear table, which was a HomeGoods find. It is glass so it is actually pretty heavy! I honestly don’t know how I got it from my car, into the building, and then into my apartment all by myself but I did. (GIRL POWER!) Right now I just have a simple coffee tablet book, ginger jar, and candle on the coffee table, but I also have a little gold and mirrored table tray that I love to bring out as well as several vases for when I’m feeling extra and need fresh flowers. It also a perfect space to throw something seasonal. The pouf adds a little bit of bohemian vibe. (It was also used when I couldn’t see my TV from the couch before I went to the ophthalmologist; so would drag it in front of the coffee table. Oops! Don’t worry now I have glasses.)

Side tables: the wooden side table is actually two separate tables. I like again the light and airy feel of the table. I didn’t need tons of storage so I loved the open feeling. I love coffee table books (maybe slightly addicted), so I stacked up two and put a more rounded/stout ginger jar and circular picture frame to offset the square and rectangular shapes. On the other end is a gold and marble topped round end table. I had several ginger jars from my previous apartment that I wanted to display here. So I stuck them underneath to fill the space in a little more, and again tossed a couple of fun coffee table books, candle, coasters, and one of those gold starburst/spiky things on top.

Wall: I love how floating shelves look so simple and clean. These I found on amazon. I already had most of the pictures, so I just got a couple of the bigger ones at Hobby Lobby and moved them all around until I found a look I liked. Now I do have to give a shout out to Sam here. I got these shelves just a little while after we met/started dating and the instructions said I needed power tools. Sam, being the handy man that he is and trying to look all cool and strong when we first met, came over and helped me install them. (Thanks Sam!)

So overall, I kept with a neutral theme of colors and fun textures to play up the pink velvet couch. I change things up for the seasons and holidays, which really isn’t as hard as you may think with a pink couch. I love how personal this area feels and how “me” it is. Does anyone else have something in their home/apartment that makes them feel so happy and personal?!