Hey hi hello, Tiana the brunch lover here. You know what’s so frustrating? Going to gluten-free friendly brunch spots but they don’t EVER have gluten-free french toast, and it’s definitely not vegan.
I’ve been experimenting with flaxseed meal as an egg replacement for a while now, using it for everything from cupcakes to pizza crust. I was craving french toast the other day and decided to try using flax meal as an egg replacement for french toast. GUESS WHAT! It actually worked, and it was delicious.
The key with using flaxseed meal as an egg replacement is always using one part flax meal to three parts water. To make one “egg,” you would typically do one tablespoon flax meal and three tablespoons warm water. You then let it sit for about five minutes, mixing in between, until it forms an egg-white texture. For this recipe, using only one package Schar bread, I did 1/4 cup of flaxseed meal and 3/4 cup warm water. After it began forming an eggy texture, I mixed in about half a cup of cold almondmilk.
Whisking the mixture, I then added a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring to cover up the flax taste (vanilla almondmilk will help with this too!).
From there, you simply dunk the bread in the mixture, being careful to not let it sit because the gluten-free bread will crumble easily, and slap it on a hot, buttered frying pan.
You will use A LOT of butter, as the flaxmeal coating on the bread is very sticky. It might be better on a non-stick pan, but we use stainless steel over here.
Add butter to the pan as needed, and cook to desired browning level. Remember – you don’t have to worry about cooking the egg-soaked bread to the right temperature because it’s eggless!
We topped ours with blueberry preserves and powdered sugar! The blueberry spread compliments the buttery taste of the toast so well! If you’re a plain butter and syrup kinda person, try Walden Farms calorie-free pancake syrup.
Let me know how it works for you! ALSO – comment below with your favorite french toast topping!
If you knew my title was from Queen Ari’s song “Get Well Soon” then you already know what this post is about – self-care.
I am a huge fan of staying in and having an evening on the weekend to recharge and rejuvenate. As a young lawyer, I don’t treat myself the best during the week, and I’m sure all my boss women reading this can relate. I stay up way too late, wake up early, don’t drink enough water, skip workouts, fall asleep at least once a week without taking my makeup off, build up tension from five days at my computer screen, and so on…
Us boss women tend to put our career at the top or near the top of our priority lists with our families and loved ones. Fill the middle with going out with friends, side hustles, hobbies, sports/fitness, random commitments, etc. and skim down to the bottom… Yep, there we are! We put our own bodies, our own health and well-being, emotional stability, and joy, WAY at the very bottom of our list. It’s only natural to do this when you’re hustling like we do. I don’t know one boss woman in my life who doesn’t struggle with taking care of themselves as good as she should be. It normally shows up in the form of not sleeping enough, or over-working and not making time for themselves that they need.
THIS is why I’ve started blocking out chunks of time on my weekend to take care of my mind and body. On top of sleeping in and taking yoga on the weekends, I have added at least one night to be alone and do a full relaxation routine. Once you start this routine with me, I think you’ll understand JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out). See: my inspiration for this post – Kourt Kardashian/Poosh.
First thing’s first: pick a space to spend your night. Your bedroom, your living room, whatever. Choose it and declutter it before you start winding down. You cannot fully relax in a cluttered space.
If you don’t already have an essential oil diffuser, you need one asap. You can find a good selection at your local TJ Maxx, or even at grocery stores like Hyvee. Here are some other options as well, including the white Pure Enrichment diffuser (the one I own and love) (click the images to shop!):
Start your relaxation process by using a few drops of lavender oil (my favorite) or eucalyptus oil. Other top choice oils for relaxation, sleep, and stress relief are frankincense, chamomile, and bergamot. If you have a himalayan salt lamp, turn it on for an added relaxing glow to your space. (Click the pics to shop):
My favorite Spotify playlists for this kind of night are “Relaxing Massage,” “SPA Treatment,” or “Ocean Escapes.”
Once you have your diffuser and playlist going, and you’re in your cozy evening attire, start your full-out skincare routine. I’m not talking the simple makeup wipe and face wash routine you do when you’re rushing to get to bed – I mean your full. out. routine. Remove your makeup, wash your face with a quality wash, exfoliate, and wax or shave. Save your moisturizer, serums and night creams for later… You’ll be doing a mask! Click my favs below to shop:
Aromatherapy Skin-Safe Oil
This is a way to take your essential oils to the next level. Most essential oils are not created to be applied directly to the skin. What I do is take my wax melts warmer and (making sure it’s free of wax melt residue first) melt down some coconut oil. Then I add in a few drops of lavender essential oil and mix it, shutting off my warmer before the oil becomes hot. Once in bed, I massage this into my temples. (I stole this from my yoga teacher–10/10 recommend).
Heat and Massage Therapy
A must for me is my heating bean bag. I found one here that is similar and lavender scented for added relaxation. I love placing this around my neck and shoulders, down the length or my spine, and on my lower back. For maximum relaxation, wrap your neck and shoulders while doing your face mask and massaging your temples with your oil.
If you are one that suffers from major muscle tension, I recommend investing in an electric massager. I use this HoMedics Shiatsu massager and it works wonders when my back starts spasming (it also heats up!).
A relaxing night of self-care is not complete without a face mask. Try some Sephora Clean verified sheet masks I hand-picked for you below (click to shop):
Once you’re laying in bed, complete with face mask, playlist, temples oiled, all the good stuff, try some deep breathing. All I do is my yoga breathing: breathe in slow and long through my nose, as much air as I can fill my lungs with, and then exhale slow and long until you feel like all the “stale” air in your lungs has left – until you can’t exhale any more air. Think of it as clearing your lungs of stale air and toxins, filling them completely with new and fresh air. This will help clear your mind and reduce anxiety, allowing you to maximize your relaxation.
If you’ve been following along on my instagram, you probably know I recently had a brief visit to Atlanta to see my brother graduate basic training for the National Guard! Staying on an army base was a whole new world, but it was so much fun finally getting a glimpse into Mike’s life over the past several months. We were shown videos about what the new soldiers had gone through to graduate from basic, and we visited the massive infantry museum on base and learned about his potential future, as well as some of our country’s past.
It was an amazing experience and I’m so glad I got to witness him become an American Soldier. We are beyond proud of him, as I’m sure you know! After getting some much-needed quality time with Mike, he had to head back to his college, and we were left with an evening and one full day to explore Atlanta. It was my first time, so I had done some thorough research for the best spots (lots of thanks to PLIG aka Poor Little It Girl and her Atlanta Travel Guide).
One of the spots I knew I needed to check out was Ponce City Market.
Ponce City Market is like a mini mall, with high-end shops like Madewell, Anthropologie and Lululemon, combined with a next-level food hall. I love shopping more than anyone, but the food hall is the highlight of the Market.
“At the heart of Ponce City Market, the Central Food Hall is becoming the most vibrant food hall and market in the Southeast. James Beard Award-winning chefs the likes of Anne Quatrano, Linton Hopkins, and Sean Brock join Atlanta’s most exciting young purveyors and restauranteurs to offer everything from Georgia and Carolinas-caught seafood, to classic burgers, cold-pressed juice, house-made pasta and freshly milled heirloom grain bread.
Similar to the legendary food hall at Chelsea Market in Manhattan—also owned by the developers of Ponce City Market—the Central Food Hall is a culinary gathering place within a revamped historic space, but with the distinct character and ﬂavors of Atlanta.” – poncecitymarket.com
The food hall features places like Batter Cookie Dough Counter, Farm to Ladle, Root Baking Co., Spiller Park Coffee and Pancake Social. Every spot has a fresh, conscious and modern feel.
As if PCM didn’t sound cool enough, it also features a rooftop carnival. I’m not even joking. It’s a carnival, complete with a long row of carnival games and a full mini-golf course, on a rooftop overlooking the ATL skyline.
The rooftop is kid-friendly unless it’s on the weekend after 5:00, because then it turns into a rooftop party! But no worries, alcohol is served all day 😉
One spot I KNEW I wasn’t leaving without going to was bartaco, because I had seen them all over social media as a must-hit spot. We don’t have bartaco up north, so we drove to the northeast side of ATL to test it out. And, my goodness, was it freakin DELISH.
I ordered their classic bartaco marg, and I’m not kidding you when I say, it was the best-tasting marg I’ve ever had (and I drink a lot of margs. I’m a marg connoisseur, if you will). Everything, including the marg, is SO. FRESH.
“bartaco is inspired by the beach culture of brazil, uruguay and southern california. we are upscale street food with a coastal vibe in a relaxed environment. we are freshly-squeezed juices, specialty cocktails and beer out of a bottle. bartaco evokes a visit to a stylish beach resort and creates an unforgettable experience.” – bartaco.com
I am all about good food, but adding a good atmosphere to that makes the food taste even better? It’s science.
Absolutely, 100% hit them up while you’re in ATL. You will not regret it!
On my last note about food, (if you can’t tell, I’m all about food when I travel) we randomly ended up at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria because we saw they had gluten-free pizza. I will say this: my favorite pizza before being diagnosed with Celiac disease was Sbarro’s. I loved the thin, soft crust, the greasy cheese… Everything about it. This was the closest I’ve tasted to it since I went gluten-free. I nearly cried, it was so delicious. I am down for any pizza place that actually MAKES their crust instead of using a cardboard frozen gluten-free crust. If you’re looking for a family place downtown where you can also grab a beverage, hit up Max’s. Also, if it’s just adults, there is a kickass sports bar right next door. The easiest dinner and drinks set-up right in the heart of downtown ATL! Perfect for that first night in town when you’re settling in.
I didn’t expect to have as much fun as we did with a basically 24 turnaround, but we soaked it up and I can’t wait to go back. Have you been? Drop a comment with your favorite spot in ATL!
Today I am thankful to have a day off. This weekend was one of those weekends where you NEED more than two days. Thankfully, both my husband and I had today off for Presidents’ Day, and we’ve been treating it like a second Sunday. If you know me, Sunday is my favorite day of the week, so my heart is full!
Today’s look was a casual “about town” look for brunch, Starbs, and running errands with the hubby. Everything I’m wearing is affordable and designed for the girl on a budget! Check the deets below:
TRUTH: I hate long blog posts. Every piece of literature I’ve read on blogging and how to keep your readers locked into your page starts by saying “make your posts longer!” But honestly, It annoys the crap out of me. My husband always tries to look up recipes on pinterest and he’ll get so mad, like “DAMN IT JEN MOTHER OF FIVE I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR BAD HAIR DAY AND HOW YOU MADE THIS RECIPE FOR YOUR KIDS’ BIRTHDAY PARTY JUST TELL ME HOW TO MAKE THE DAMN FOOD!!”
So, I’m going to start making my blog posts shorter and getting to the point – starting today with my top makeup & skin care products I am currently loving and using in my daily routine:
Fenty Foundation and Gloss Bombs
I am definitely a gloss over matte girl (especially in the winter when your skin & lips get so dry!)- and I am in love with Fenty’s Gloss Bomb formula. It’s rich & quality texture, without being too sticky. This is one of her most popular colors in Fussy – I use it every day! ($18.00)
Her foundation, also, is worth the hype. All of her products are reasonably priced for high-end makeup – including this foundation. I use it as my daily wear – Currently using shade 300, but I could go a little more pale because winter has stolen my tan ($34.00)
2. First Aid Beauty: Ultra Repair Lip Therapy, Ultra Repair Cream, Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer, Hello Fab Bendy Avocado Concealer
First Aid Beauty has slowly taken over my skin care routine, one product at a time. I started with their face cleanser, ($21.00), and the tried out their Ultra Repair Cream, (try the mini for $12.00) and now I have a whole FAB collection.
FAB’s Ultra Repair Lip Therapy is a game changer. I seriously have the WORST problems with my lips (autoimmune issues) and no chapstick or lip scrubs help. I started using their Lip Therapy before bed and I have been waking up with soft & smooth lips – a true miracle. ($12.00)
Also – FAB’s Bendy Avocado Concealer is a new necessity of mine. The avocado in it helps hydrate the skin (so important during the winter) and it’s TRULY flexible & full-coverage. For only $22, I don’t know why people aren’t talking about it more! (Thanks for the recommendation Danielle @ SEPHORA Inside JCP Cedar Rapids IA)!
3. Origins Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream
I have the WORST time with my under-eye bags. Largely in part due to my autoimmune disease, these bags are permanent and nothing really works to get rid of them. This Origins Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream is my daily go-to, and while it doesn’t totally get rid of my bags (nothing can) it helps SO much. Combining this and my FAB avocado concealer is my daily routine. ($32.00)
4. Lush Dream Cream
You ever go into LUSH and get Sticker Shock?! Some of their stuff is so pricey, it’s like overwhelming. You’ve got people all over trying to bring you to the tub to drop some bath bombs, workers attacking you with samples, and the floor to ceiling shelves are so overwhelming I swear! When in doubt, grab a bath bomb, and ask for the Dream Cream. I am a lotion lover – and I have never, in all my lotioning days, used a lotion that feels so rich and luxurious as this dream cream does. Not to mention, it’s not a zillion dollars, and it comes with all the perks of buying a lush product – Vegan, cruelty-free, made from the best, natural ingredients. ($29.95)5
Hi friends! I know it’s been quite a while since you’ve heard from me. (My last blog post was in September… I hate myself). BUT, I have a good reason! On October 1st, I received my Illinois Bar Exam results (which you may have read about on my Insta) and found out that I PASSED on the first try! My work immediately promoted me from Graduated Law Clerk to Associate Attorney, and just like that, the past few months FLEW by.
In those few months, I also lost my dear grandpa. He had been fighting a brave and furious battle with cancer. I don’t like to say he lost his battle with cancer, because he didn’t. He fought and fought hard, and he did it because he knew we wanted him to. At the end of it, he contracted an infection from the radiation, and when he moved on to a higher realm, it was ultimately his choice, as his heart stopped beating. So, we like to say he CHOSE to move on, the cancer itself isn’t what pushed him on. He moved on with all of us around him, holding his hands, and surrounding him with love.
For anyone who has lost someone near and dear in 2018, God, do I feel for you. This has hands down been the most difficult thing to go through. His funeral was the day before Thanksgiving, which we always spent with him. Christmas was hard. Every day has been hard. But, I know he’s with me and watching over us all. As Carrie Underwood put it, “but I won’t cry ’cause I know, I’ll never be lonely, for you are the stars to me, you are the light I follow…”
With the past few months being the whirlwind that they have been, I’ve been doing a LOT of deep reflection the past few days. I see so many people mock New Years Resolutions, and the whole “New Year, New Me” trend, but damn, this year I feel more motivated than ever before to start the new year fresh. Screw people who think being motivated to better yourself is dumb. There’s something magical about a new year beginning, and if it’s that little bit of magic, that fresh slate feeling, that gives you that little spark of motivation to be who you want to be, then DO IT!
I wanted to write this post for anyone who wants to make a change in 2019 but doesn’t know how or where to start. I’m not a life coach or anything, but I feel like my success, if you will, gives me a platform to encourage other women, and I want to use it!
Do your actions match your beliefs?
Have you ever heard “live with intent”? I was listening to Rachel Hollis’s RISE Podcast last night (which you NEED in your life) and they talked about living with intent. This resonated with me in a huge way because of some of my goals I’ve mapped out for myself for 2019.
If you don’t know, I am a lifelong vegetarian and animal spokesperson. I say spokesperson because I use my voice for those who don’t have one, and animal “activist” has negative connotations because people hate PETA, lol. I have always believed that animals’ lives are equal in value to our own, and that we do not have the right to take another living being’s life. I KNOW that all animals are capable of emotion, including love, compassion, anxiety and fear (the list matches our own human emotions). See, Stella the family duck. Despite living my whole life believing that animals should not be hurt, killed, tested on, used for entertainment, etc., my own actions haven’t been matching those beliefs.
To explain, I was buying and consuming dairy products. I bought a pair of Bearpaw (not vegan) boots. I was buying all the “hot” products at Sephora and Ulta without checking if they tested on animals. I was eating at Jimmy John’s. The list goes on. By doing these things, I was funding and supporting the dairy industry which is rampant with animal abuse and neglect, I was funding the skinning of animals, I was funding and supporting companies that harmed animals that live their loveless, uncomfortable life in labs being burned by chemicals, and I was funding the owner of Jimmy John’s taking hunting trips to trophy hunt beautiful exotic animals.
Long story short, my actions, namely, where I put my money and what food and products I consumed, did not match my deep core values. After a lot of self-reflection, I decided I want to kick 2019 off on a different note, and make SURE my actions match my beliefs. I have decided to go VEGAN (yay!) and have already did a massive fridge and pantry dump, and refilled both with vegan EVERYTHING. I have done research and will only be buying makeup and other products from companies that do not test on animals. Also, I stopped eating at Jimmy John’s, and when my boss suggests ordering for lunch, I’ve started protesting 😉
I want you to sit down and write out your deeply held values, and go through each one and evaluate yourself – have your actions been matching your beliefs? If not, what can you do to change that in 2019?
2. Work hard, SLEEP harder
This is one thing I am FOR SURE qualified to speak on. HOLY moly, am I an anxiety-ridden, people-pleasing, overachieving, perfectionist workaholic. I blame (and also, thank) my parents for this. One thing I am HORRIBLE at, is taking the time I need to rest and recharge so I can continue to put my best foot forward in the workplace and at home.
With my autoimmune diseases, I need 10-11 hours of sleep a night to feel my best. I don’t even get 8. I average, actually, between 5 and 7 hours a night. That is, like HALF of what I need to be getting, and I do it every night! And THEN, I have nights like last night, where I had nothing to do and could not wait to go home and sit on the couch and relax all night. I sat down for about 10 minutes, got antsy, felt like I was wasting precious time to be productive, and bounced up and meal-prepped until 11:30 pm.
WHY AM I LIKE THIS. I know it’s partially a good thing, because I wouldn’t be a lawyer at a dope firm at 24 if I didn’t have this deep drive within me. But, I’m not being the best version of myself by doing this all the time. I’m sleepy at work and I’m grumpy at home. Sure, I may be productive and working towards success, but I’m not being the best version of me.
Going into 2019, I’ve vowed to get more sleep, and learn to fight the urge to get up and do something when I’ve been blessed with valuable resting time. If I rest more, I can still kill it at work, but I’ll be less foggy, need less caffeine, and I’ll be more productive! All of us can use a reminder that you can be productive and successful, and also get your beauty rest. You can conquer the world, but also take a nap here and there. You can do (almost) ALL the things, but ONLY with the rest your body needs!
So, ladies, we are slaying AND sleeping in 2019.
3. In your mother’s voice: “You’re not leaving this table until you take your vitamins and finish that glass of water!”
This one’s simple. Drink your water. Take your vitamins. Put GOOD things into your body. It’s the only one you got! This will only fuel your body to feel better and more able to take on the world every day. If you have trouble drinking enough water (like me), stick some lemon and limes in there. Get to chugging.
4. STOP “just surviving” and STOP “living for the weekend”
I am the worst when it comes to this. I catch myself in this sort of tumble, rolling out of bed, crawling into work, dying to get home, doing nothing until bed, sleeping a little, and waking up to do it again…. All the while BEGGING for Friday to get here sooner.
THIS IS SO EFFED. Wow, what life are we living in a constant cycle like this? It’s so easy to fall into, but damn, do we need to break it! Every single day there is opportunity to live a little. Every time you wish for the weekend, you are literally wishing the numbered days of your life to pass you by faster. Work is part of life. It is not your whole life. You are not your job. Your job is not who you are.
You are a runner, a sister, a golfer, a blogger, a mom, a daughter, a crafter, a movie-goer. You love baking, you love watching reality TV shows, you love reading. You take photographs. You like spending time with your family. You like going to the gym. You like thrifting. Whatever you love doing, stop waiting for the weekends to do it. Carve the time into your days to do a little bit of what you love and enjoy every day. Stop stumbling through the week and start living your life!
5. You are not required to spend time with toxic people because of a blood relation
Oh, boy, this is huge. I know some people (especially older people) will disagree with me on this. Don’t let people guilt you into spending time with toxic people because “well they’re family so get over it!” NO. Just, no. You are not required to spend the limited time you have on this earth with people that make you feel bad.
This goes for friends, too. People change. Just because you’ve been friends forever, doesn’t mean you’re meant to stay friends forever. If that person brings negativity to your life, if that person judges you, doesn’t support you or your decisions, and makes you feel bad about who you are, what you love, or who you love, CUT THEM OFF. Blood or not, CUT them off, sister. They are not worth your time. YOUR TIME HAS VALUE! Spend it with those who love you and make you feel good. Each day is a gift, you never know when you might not see those people again.
Minimum payments = self-sabotaging your future self
This is off on a bit of a tangent, but dang, is it important. Money is such a huge part of our day-to-day lives. You can sit there and be like “no it’s not, money doesn’t matter” and pretend that life is all rainbows and butterflies, but those butterflies aren’t paying your bills, are they?
Money and bills and debt is a huge underlying cause of depression, anxiety, and just general unhappiness with your life. Even if you don’t think bills and money stress you out that bad, it’s lingering in your brain. You would feel so much better if you were taking active steps to be financially above water, trust me. This means, STOP JUST PAYING YOUR MINIMUM PAYMENTS!
I recently had to set up my student loan payments that start in January (gag me). I looked at all of my options for monthly payments, including what my “end total” would be with each. The lowest monthly payment would be nice for now, but I would have ended up paying about $40,000.000 more at the end of my payment period just in interest!!! While it’s going to suck now, I chose a higher monthly payment (which means less shopping and eating out/going out) so I save about $40,000 in the long-run. I know so many people who have been bragging about how they “don’t have to pay anything yet” because their income isn’t high. YEAH, well I don’t HAVE to pay near $500 a month for my student loans, but I’m going to so I don’t drown in interest and growing debt.
I know, you’re probably thinking “I don’t have the extra money to pay more than my minimum.” If you sit down with your monthly debit or credit card charges, I’m POSITIVE you can find some extra money. Cancel that monthly subscription to the gym or tanning salon you never go to. Stop getting your nails done every two weeks and paint your own for a bit. Cancel your Apple Music or Spotify Premium payment and put up with the Spotify adds for a while. Make your coffee at home for two weeks and don’t go to Starbucks or Dunkin. There’s money, you have to just keep a closer eye on it!
If you’ve been thinking about who you want to be this new year, I hope you join me in doing some deep self-reflection. If anything, let this be a guide to you on setting some new year resolutions for yourself.
If any of this inspired you to set a new, new years resolution, comment below! I want to hear it!