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Thursday Things

oh hi.

it’s been a while since the last time I threw random thoughts at you. lets be honest, it’s been a while since I consistently posted anything. [truth booth time] why? eh ya got me. life’s busy, but that’s the norm. but really why the lack in bloggy engagement on my end? it’s something I’ve really been pondering lately. truth is I feel like lately I’m focused on living more in the present and really being…present. it’s a good feeling and something that takes a conscious effort for an over planner like me. I also feel like while being [namaste] present I’m becoming better at enjoying the moment rather than putting pressure on myself to capture the moment to share later. brutiful authenticity is what I’m after these days. however lately when the opportunity arises to share my things on this little corner of the interwebs, I have to admit I feel a little rusty. like wait. how do I do this again? one step at a time. pinky toe first. eek.

that being said…I do miss this. writing it all out. getting it all out. I always tell my students to just begin and let it flow from their heads/hearts through finger tips whenever they’re feeling stuck or like their word well has run dry. time to practice what I teach. just let it go…I mean flow.

what-ifs. what-ifs are the demon voices that creep and crawl their way into our malleable little brains. ok I know anytime anyone mentions voices, it sounds little funny-farmish. but we all have them. so relax. sometimes the what-ifs are small and stupid and come through in a whisper. “what-if I waste great hair on an insignificant day?” “what-if I hit snooze for the 7th time?” “what-if I add guac to my Chipotle burrito bowl?” but sometimes the what-ifs are bold and boisterous. they shout at you and make your head snap back like you’re experiencing Beyonce whiplash [it’s a thing. I speak from experience].”what-if he does what the others have?” “what-if I’m taken for granted?” “what-if I’m not enough?” “what-if they don’t take me seriously?” “what-if I’m too vulnerable?” “what-if they’re hiding something?” “what-if my gut is right?” “what-if I’m not living up to my potential?”

those what-if voices are usually jerks. rarely are they saying things like, “what-if I win the lottery today?!” or “what-if everyone freaking falls in the love with me?”. if you have those what-if voices, you get two high fives…to the face. because either you’re floating around on some sort of mind-altering happy pills and probably need to sit the eff down or you’re so delusional about your own self perception you deserve a 10 to the face.

not to worry there’s a happy medium. a place where you can see-saw between the whispers and telling the a-hole ‘what-ifs’ to lock it up! because here’s the thing, the what-ifs and the could-haves (what-if’s BFF) will eat your brain. they say not to let your past dictate your future but when you’ve been hurt, battered, bruised, and crushed in the past especially when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s hard not to let those voices pump up the volume. as I get older and experience more heartache, and let downs, and betrayal, and vindictive maneuvers, these voices become more and more noticeable. but I realize not only am I listening less and less but I’m also not letting those what-ifs and could-haves take control [ah ha! the therapy is working]. sure there’s fear and doubt and anxiety about repeat hurtful performances. why do you think those voices are there in the first place? to protect yo-self fool! your brain knows it’s a harsh – sometimes all too real world out there. we subconsciously protect ourselves when it comes to our livelihoods and our emotions in the same instinctual way we protect our bodies and loved ones [aka cell phones] during moments of adrenaline-filled panic. and for that reason these voices should not be completely ignored, because then you’re just flying blind. and thats stupid. however, keeping them in line will allow you peace and the freedom to live a life that is full. full and open to all of the things. the pain and the joy, the lessons, the laughter, the passion and the heartache, the let downs and the totally cliche moments that take your breath away. we’re all on this journey together, but each path is hand carved on our own. hindsight is 20/20 for a reason. we wouldn’t take the leaps of faith that help to shape our lives if we could always see the next step in front of us.

and remember…

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so lets live [a lot] and learn [beyond measure].

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Minted.

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I have a thing for stationary. Always have, always will. Probably stems from my grandmother’s love of cards and hand-written notes. Nowadays snail mail is such an unexpected treat that it truly makes my day when I get it. With everything happening so instantaneously–all day everyday, the notion that someone would take time to mail me something is just so stop-you-in-your-tracks thoughtful.

I tell you this so it’s no surprise when I say that I’ve been a Minted. fan since their birth in 2007. They’ve always had the most beautiful, customizable cards and stationary. But here’s the thing, they’ve really evolved. Why? Because they had to….

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The company held its first “design challenge” in 2008, a save-the-date card design competition that attracted 66 entries. Initially, the company balanced its crowd-sourcing approach by also carrying stationery brands, almost failed, and was panned by the media. Naficy raised $11 million in cash to last through seven years of operation, brought the company to cash-flow break-even with a lean team by 2012, then raised a first large funding round in 2013. 
Tens of thousands of design and art entries later, the company has expanded into the art business and the home décor business and its products have reached 40 million homes. The company is backed by Benchmark Capital, IDG Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners, and has raised $90 million in capital. LinkedIn named Minted as one of 2014’s 10 Most In-Demand Start-Ups among job seekers. Naficy was named one of the 25 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company in 2013. 

So that brings us to the present and me getting to know my beloved Minted. through a whole new lens…art & home decor. Swoon. Once again here’s company building a platform for independent artists. You can always categorize those types of companies under, things I adore. I took a look around on their site recently and I have to [have to!] share with you all some of my favorite finds. Take a look for yourself. Their collections are vast but easy to browse. Take a minute and scroll…I’m willing to bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised. How exactly does it work? Whose art gets chosen? Find out more about the entire process here.

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This first piece is called “Down Under the Brooklyn Bridge.” Did you say Brooklyn?
Sold.

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This piece feels like a morning yoga practice.
calm & content

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 Typography is my jam. This rocks.

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Gold Foiled Goodness

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this abstract ‘sunrise and sunset’ piece is just worldly-beautiful.

These pieces are just a sprinkling of gems this site has to offer. The amount of affordable, intriguing, independently created creative art is kind of overwhelming…in a good way. Did I mention you can purchase a custom frame to accompany your print? Yep. You can. And you will, because who doesn’t like making things easier? Ok enough from me. Check out Minted. art marketplace and let me know what you think!

please note: I was compensated for this post …
however all opinions and thoughts  are my own.

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Cooking Light Quesadillas!

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It’s no a secret that I have a [major] crush on Mexican/ Southwestern flavors. So when I saw this recipe in the Jan/Feb issue of Cooking Light, I didn’t think twice about giving it a go.

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You can find the original recipe here. Adorable bowls found here. True to fashion, I altered the recipe up a bit. Added a few things and switched up the prep to accommodate dinner guests :)

  • In addition to the lime infused Greek Yogurt [which is great] to dip the dillas’ in, I made some guac. However, this was not just any guac. Along with the usual chili garlic sauce, sprinkle of cumin, S+P… I added pomegranates! I’ve seen this a couple places recently and have been wanting to try it. Besides the obvious sweet and salty heaven this creates, it also makes for a gorgeous pop of color. Highly recommend!
  • I had a couple of my lady-frans over for dinner when I made these guys. So to accommodate my meat eating and non-meat eating friends alike, I kept all of the ingredients separate until it was time to put them together and cook up. The recipe tells you to combine the chicken & mushroom mixture. No need if you want to make it more customizable!
  • Also — I used rotisserie chicken instead of poaching chicken breasts as the recipe calls for. Rotisserie chickens are delicious, cheap, and a fast option [plus who can resist that aroma annnd raw chicken breasts freak me out]. To get the most out of the whole chicken, I usually pull the legs off and set them aside for dinner that night or later in the week. Then I shred the breast meat and keep it on hand to go on top of salads, in wraps, or for recipes such as this. Did I mention they’re scrumptious? Just so we’re clear.
  • I also used coconut oil instead of EVOO to ‘fry’ these up in the pan and added black beans to the ingredients list to give it a little extra something — especially for my friends who were going sans meat.

cookinglightquesadillas2 This one is a winner. Like winner winner chicken…you know.

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Frederick’s Organic Skin Care

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I’m really excited to introduce you guys to this great little company blooming right here in our [Maryland] backyard. Frederick’s Organic Skin Care is a family owned and grown business that has developed some pretty fantastic products. Matt and Angie are the husband and wife duo who operate this business from all sides. They live and breath their products — using them daily and creating them from scratch.

Organic [anything] kind of gives you that warm-fuzzy feeling that you’re doing something good for yourself. I’ve always invested in organic food but can’t really say I’ve always invested in organic beauty/ skincare products. But when you think about it, it’s really the same kind of investment. You’re eating organically because you believe in nourishing your body with well-grown, hand crafted, locally sustainable, artisan made, chemical-free whole products. Well all of that good thinking should go along with the stuff you’re rubbing in your skin…not just the food you’re putting in your mouth. It’s a simple concept but one that can easily get lost. Thankfully there are people out there [like Matt and Angie] who are refocusing our commerce in the direction of that kind of thinking. Here’s to small business, locally grown, and healthy lifestyles. Heck yes!

Lucky for me they sent me a few of their products to try out. All of their products are made with Organic, Wildcrafted, All Natural, and 100% pure ingredients. Kinda luxurious if you ask me! Check out some of the products that I sampled…

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This Lavender Cedarwood Whipped Body Butter is luxurious whipped shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, vitamin e oil and olive oil. These provide the skin with the finest moisturizing benefits possible. Packed with Vitamins A and E, and essential fatty acids. It’s like butter in your fingers and goes on smooth. I loved using this on my dry-winter skin right when I got out of the shower. They are not kidding when they say it’s like butter in your fingers. But the way it melts in your skin and keeps it moisturized is truly awesome. I’ve been using it for only a about a week now but feel like I can tell in difference in my skin’s tone, smoothness, and softness. Yes, please!

Ingredients: *Shea Butter, *Coconut Oil,*Cocoa Butter, *Olive Oil, Vitamin E oil, *Lavender Essential Oil, *Cedarwood Essential Oil

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 Need a good scrub-a-dub? This stuff is the stuff! The Revitalizing Lemongrass Tea- Tree and Myrrh Facial Scrub smells amaaaazing and does wonderful things. Lemongrass is an anti-microbial and anti-bacterial herb. The herb also acts as an astringent, which constricts the skin. This helps to minimize pores, decrease oil production and provide a temporary skin-firming treatment. Tea Tree oil is also called medicine oil. It has amazing healing properties, antibacterial and antifungal. Excellent for acne treatment, comparable to benzoyl peroxide and though tea tree oil is slower to show benefits than benzoyl peroxide. It results in less itching, scaling, and irritation. It aids in disinfecting the pores, and drying out whiteheads and blackheads. Myrrh essential oil is believed to have analgesic, antiseptic and astringent properties. Helps combat wrinkles as it is a powerful antioxidant. Lavender helps stimulate new cell growth and regeneration. Calming for skin and also antibacterial and anti-aging. See? I told you, this is the stuff! It does all the stuff. I used this in the shower after I washed my face and got a good steam going. My face felt so smooth and fresh. Nothing like a good exfoliation in the winter months [or any month] to waken those skin cells back up and get that glowy-complexion thanks to new found circulation pumping through your face! Best part was my face didn’t feel tight and dry as soon as I was out of the shower like it would in the past with other scrubs. Sold.

Ingredients: *Sugar, *Grape Seed Oil*, vitamin e oil, *Castile Soap, *Lemongrass Essential Oil, *Tea Tree Essential Oil, *Lavender Essential Oil, *Myrrh Essential Oil.

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This Rejuvenation Eye Cream is packed with a punch of green tea, rosehip seed oil, shea butter, carrot seed, peppermint, frankincense, geranium and rosemary essential oil. Formulated to combat the signs of aging as well as decrease puffiness and under eye circles.This eye cream is the bees knees! Anyone 25 and older should be using an eye cream. Hello. This is specially blended for the delicate skin around the eye area. With our chronically busy lifestyle these days, who doesn’t need this? Has a very soft mild pleasant scent and felt lovely on my bags…I mean eyes.

Ingredients: *Green Tea,*Rosehip Seed Oil, *Grape Seed Oil, *Shea Butter, emulsifying wax, citric acid, vitamin e oil, *Carrot Seed Essential Oil, *Peppermint Essential Oil, *Rosemary Essential Oil, *Frankincense Essential Oil, *Geranium Essential Oil

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The Anti-Aging Facial Serum is one of their best sellers. And I can see why! It has a great scent and after application your skin feels amazing. Like “hey everyone, come see how good I look!” amazing. Both Apricot Kernel Oil and Rosehip Seed Oil absorb into your skin nicely without leaving an oily residue. Truly a powerhouse of effective essential oils for aging and promoting beautiful skin. The moisturizing, nourishing and revitalizing properties of apricot kernel oil combine well with essential oils, to create a superb facial oil. A wonderful facial oil for those with mature skin or prematurely aged skin. Light and absorbent and highly potent. This whole putting oil ON your face was a new thing for me. For years I’ve been trying to get rid of any sign of oil on my face. Turns out it’s all about the oil balance ya’ll. 28 and just learning this. Pause, reflect. Moving on… Use this after cleansing and toning, in place of facial moisturizer or use before using a facial cream. It’s kind of spa-like-heavenly…at home.

Ingredients: *Apricot Kernel Oil, *Rosehip Seed Oil, *Frankincense Essential Oil, *Myrrh Essential Oil, *Lavender Essential Oil, *Carrot Seed Essential Oil, *Patchouli Essential Oil  

 

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Saving the BEST for last. The Refreshing Coconut Oil Cleanser was my favorite! Add a deelightful, rejuvenating experience to your daily facial cleansing routine. Once you try it you will never go back. Seriously. Like I said, using oil-based skin products is new to me. I’m used to commercial brands that boast “oil-free.” No more. I’m hooked. Everything about this cleansing process felt very different than my typical cleansing routine. First of all you rub a generous amount of cleanser on face and neck. Then saturate a washcloth with hot water and wring the washcloth so that it’s not dripping water. Then apply the damp hot cloth to your face. Allow the steam to work the cleanser deep into the skin, and remove once the washcloth gets cool. Repeat (up to 3 or 4 times) then wipe excess oil off face. After I washed it off, my face didn’t feel tight or dry [as it typically does after a deep cleanse] instead it felt refreshed, very smooth and hydrated almost to the point that I didn’t need to apply any extra moisturizer. Plus it’s great at removing makeup. Like all of your makeup. You know that feeling when you ‘wash your face’ after a long day or big night out with lots of makeup and it just still feels like there’s a layer of gunk still on it?  With this cleanser you actually hear your skin take a deep breath. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating. But seriously. It like reallllly cleans your face. My pores look smaller, my skin is hydrated in the dead of winter, and I can’t stop touching it because it’s so soft! So, yeah I’m a fan.

Ingredients: *Coconut Oil, *Shea Butter, *Castor Oil *Eucalyptus Essential Oil, *Lavender Essential Oil, *Clove Essential Oil.

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Please join me in supporting small business, this sweet family, and their amazing products [which you can buy here]. Get to know them better here and stay connected by ‘liking’ their page on Facebook. Do something good for yourself, from the outside-in.

 

please note: I was compensated for this post and sent these products…
however all opinions and thoughts  are my own.

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