Sunday, January 31, 2016

JANUARY FAVORITES

My first favorites of the month are here! What a hectic month. Back to work, back to school, and lots of chaos in between. Here's what I was loving on this month:

Scent - Bath & Body Works Black Amethyst - I used this shower gel while visiting my cousin and loved it. It is a perfect, subtle blend of citrus, sandalwood, peonies, and vanilla.

Song - Fight Song by Rachel Platten - This warrior anthem makes me feel like I can take on the world. This upbeat jam reminds listeners that they can take on the world, regardless of what everyone else seems to think.



Clothing Item - Buckled Faux Leather Booties, Forever 21




Beauty Product - Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water - This spray hydrates the skin and creates a barrier between the skin and the makeup. I believe that it is what has contributed to my skin clearing up drastically in the past month. I originally received this as a sample with Sephora points and ended up going back to purchase full sized when the sample ran out.


Event - Last minute weekend getaway to Denver to visit my cousins. I bought the ticket Friday at 4pm, threw clothes in a big, and was off to LAX boarding a plane by 8:30. I got to see friends and family I have not seen in a couple years and was able to enjoy the snow!

Book - I Declare by Joel Osteen - This book is a 31 day reminder of the greatness God is putting in your life...if you will believe it and allow it.


YouTube channel - Casey Nesitat - This film director and producer previously created an HBO series with his brother and is now putting his genius on YouTube. Recently when the New York Blizzard hit, him and Jesse (of Prank vs Prank) they hit Times Square to do some snowboarding. #LikeABoss


Scripture - Psalm 46:5


What did you love in January? What are you looking forward to in February?



Thursday, January 28, 2016

CRAFTED GLUTEN FREE REVIEW

Crafted Gluten Free is a monthly subscription service with gluten free treats. I know you're probably thinking great, another gluten free snack box, and about to exit the page. However, Crafted Gluten Free is like no other box I have tried before. They offer themed boxes that set them apart from their competition. 

Some of these boxes include: Kids Overnight Party Box (with mac n cheese, hot cocoa, fruit rolls, cereal, popcorn, brownie mix, bubble gum, and bars, with enough for 4 kids), Bodacious Brunch Box (bloody mary mix, pancake mix, scone mix, frittata mix, salsa, and more!), The XL Game Day Box (my personal favorite, with 15 full sized products including jerky, chips, dips, popcorn, pretzels, brittle, and more), and many other themes to choose from to make any occasion deliciously gluten free!


All the treats in my box were delicious, but my favorite was the Chicago Mix popcorn. It was a blend of kettle corn and cheddar cheese popcorn, which together sounded very odd to me. However, it was the perfect combination of sweet and salty. (I may or may not have eaten the bag in one sitting before I photographed all the products I received, which explains why the popcorn bag is open and empty in this photo....OOPS!)

Crafted Gluten Free starts at $59/month, with cheaper deals when you buy for several months at a time. While this does lean on the pricier side of subscription boxes, it is nice to be able to try new gluten free products at a full size and to not have to worry about looking for what is and is not gluten free. I highly recommend Crafted Gluten Free to anyone looking for something special on their front porch each month!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

POWER HOUR

Since becoming a Beach Body coach, one major key to success (DJ KHALED!) I have adopted is "Power Hour." Power Hour is a productivity tool that allows you to tackle all those random little things you never get around to.

For it to be at heightened productivity, there can be no distractions. Silence your phone, crank up the music, and get to work.

Begin by making a list of all the things you want to get done in your to do list. Be reasonable. Don't put 20 things on your to do list. Put 3-5 things, depending on how long they take. If you still have time leftover, or still have the energy to keep going then tackle the rest of the things that need to get done.

A lot of times I will designate a Power "Hour" and then keep working beyond it because I just needed the idea of that hour to get things started. If doing this daily sounds daunting, try having Power Hour once a week and see how much you can get done.

I promise if done correctly, your productivity levels will increase tenfold.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

BEST APPS FOR ORGANIZATION

Being back in school, working full time, leading fitness challenges, running my blog, and balancing family and friends has gotten the best of me lately! I have always been the queen of planning and calendars, but I am still struggling to figure out my routine. Here are 5 great apps to use to help organize your life:

1.) Any.Do - This free app (there is a premium version for $2.99/month) is used for making lists and managing tasks. It assists the user in making a habit of reaching their daily tasks.

2.) Timeful - This free app puts your calendars, to do lists, and fun things you'd like to do, all in one location. Timeful suggests times for the user to complete certain tasks based on their optimal time and daily habits.

3.) RescueTime - This app is free for Mac & PC. It records how much time you spend on various websites and computer programs with the RescueTime clock, then shows you how you use your time. (You'll be shocked that the six hours of homework was really four hours of FaceBook, one hour of iTunes, and one hour of homework!) They then allow you to block certain websites for an amount of time so you can focus and be productive. This helped me get many papers done in my undergrad because I was able to block social media sites and be only allowed to complete homework.

4.) Wunderlist - This free app carries all your to do lists in one location. This is helpful for me when I have a daily to do list, a work out to do list, a school to do list, a shopping list, and more! Wunderlist also allows you to share your lists with others.

5.) Key Ring - This app takes all those reward cards in your wallet and purse and puts their information in one place. Users can scan their phone in the store instead of having a key ring full of gym memberships, Sephora VIB, library cards, and more.

What apps help you stay organized?

Friday, January 22, 2016

5 BEST SPOTS TO EAT IN PASO ROBLES

Most weekends I spend in the beautiful wine country of Paso Robles. I love spending time outdoors, hanging out with my boyfriend, wine tasting, and the best part of all is all the delicious eating I get to do. When I am at home I eat really well, strictly following my meal plans. However, when I am on vacation on the weekends, I let myself indulge.

I have come across some delicious places (and some not so good!) Here are my 5 favorite spots to eat in Paso Robles:

1.) The Tap Room - The Firestone Walker Brewing Company Tap Room located just off the 101 and 46 on Ramada, has a fun weekend atmosphere, delicious American cuisine, and good prices. I recommend starting off with the calamari or soft pretzel as an appetizer, followed by The Grilled Fish Tacos or Tap Room Burger for your meal. While I skipped the desserts because they did not sound overly appealing, they had a wide variety of options.

2.) Brown Butter Cookie Co - If you pass on dessert at The Tap Room like I did, you can head over here right after. These melt in your mouth treats are top of the line and even better they have gluten free options. Although they are slightly pricy, they are worth every dollar. My favorite is the Gluten Free Lemon Poppy cookie. The only down fall is that they close at 7pm, so if you plan on making a stop here after dinner, be sure to think ahead.

3.) Buona Tavola - This downtown Italian restaurant is phenomenal. We came here to celebrate my new job last June and I was blown away. I ordered the seafood special and was overwhelmed by the amount of food, for the price! Great deal. There was a bit of a dilemma with their card machine when it came time to pay, so we had to wait awhile, but the wait staff was friendly and brought us comped drinks to enjoy while we waited.

4.) Cowgirl Cafe - This breakfast spot has great prices and even better food. The Huevos Rancheros and Biscuits and Gravy are two of my favorites! This restaurant has the fastest service I have ever experienced...maybe because they need to turn tables quick on weekend mornings. However, the servers are also not pushy to get you out of there when they have a line out the door.

5.) Estrella - This Latin American restaurant is delicious! We went on a chilly Friday night and sat on the patio, which had heaters and a very intimate feel. I ordered the Jamaican Seafood Curry and loved it. My boyfriend got the Duck Confit Rellenos and also really liked it. I indulged in the Estrella Sangria and loved it. This restaurant was a nice change from the usual food and environments I enjoy and one I hope to eat at again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

3 PRODUCTS TO NAB IN THE OFFSEASON [OUTSIDE THE HUDDLE]

I have learned that the best time to get items for football season is in the off season. Things are cheaper and always in stock. Here are 3 great products to get your hands on quickly because before we know it, spring ball and summer camps will be come and gone, and kick off will begin.*


BeardHead is a perfect way to show your team spirit while keeping warm. The beanies with detachable beards come in a number of team colors you can rock at a tailgate and are currently on sale.


Grab a team banner like the one above on Etsy. The one pictured above is from a shop called That Crafty Auntie Em, and is on sale now that the season is over.


This wooden sign tracks your family's football journey and can be customized and purchased from Hampton Repurposed Wood.


*Yes, I realize football season is STILL going on for the NFL. However, my world revolves around college ball. The NFL is just background noise for me on Sundays.

Monday, January 18, 2016

STUDY PLAYLIST

Now that I am back in school, studying is a major part of my life again. While I don't mind it as much now because I am going to school to achieve my passion, I still get antsy spending long hours. However, the right music can make or break the perfect study sesh.

Here is my current study playlist:

  • First Breath After Coma by Explosions in the Sky (the guys responsible for the great instrumentals in Friday Night Lights the tv show)
  • We Used To Be Friends by The Dandy Warhols
  • House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert
  • California by Phantom Planet
  • That's What I Love About Sundays by Craig Morgan
  • I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab For Cutie
  • Miserable At Best by Mayday Parade
  • Drop In The Ocean by Ron Pope
  • Slow Dancing In A Burning Room by John Mayer
  • Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
What do you listen to while you're studying?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

HELENE IN BETWEEN

Helene Sula began blogging in the summer of 2012, but she began putting more time into it that September after being inured in a rock climbing accident. Within three years, blogging became her full time job.

With a background in social media, marketing, and advertising, she began teaching online courses through her blog. She shares what she has learned through blogging, with research and strategies on how to grow blogs and social media accounts.

Helene's advice for new bloggers is, "Try to tune out the noise and focus on producing content you care about. When you do that, eventually people will respond." Helene is successful because she is doing what she loves and writing posts she is passionate about. Helene loves to travel and she expresses this throughout her blog posts.  One of her favorite blog posts shares how she makes traveling happen on a budget. She discusses how her and her husband bought a house and traveled the world in one year.

Although blogging looks glamorous, Helene insists (and I can attest!) that it is very hard work. However, through the stress of late nights and being pulled various ways, Helene loves it. Blogging allows her to create a life she looks forward to, full of travel and spending time with those she loves.

For more on Helene, check out her Blog, TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


Friday, January 15, 2016

HILARY DUFF LOOK FOR LESS

Hilary Duff is on fire lately. With the premiere of season 2 of Younger, a new album release, and a recent tour announced, Duff is on the go and looks great doing it. This outfit recreated is a casual, easy going outfit, that looks chic, for less than $105.

 

Total: $104.97

Thursday, January 14, 2016

GLUTEN FREE & ALLERGEN FREE EXPO

I am always on the hunt for delicious, yet affordable, gluten free snacks. Last June I stumbled upon Send Me Gluten Free, and did a review of their box. I have found some of my favorite gluten free snacks because of that one simple box! So when they presented me with the opportunity to attend their Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in San Diego next month, I jumped at the chance.


The GFAF Expo is full of vendors, educational sessions, and resources for those with celiac disease, gluten and food sensitivity (like myself), auto-immune diseases, and autism. It will be held in San Diego on February 20-21 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Tickets can be purchased for individual days or for the whole weekend. 

Purchase a ticket by 1/19 and get 30% off with the code EARLYBIRD
Purchase a ticket by 2/19 and get 20% off with the code ADVANCE

The Expo ticket includes entry into the vendor fair, coupons, samples, discounted products, informative classes, and a reusable bag.

If you are interested in attending the Gluten Free & Allergen Free Expo with me, head over to my Instagram page and leave me a comment! 5 lucky winners will get a FREE ticket!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

CROCKPOT BEEF STEW [21 DAY FIX APPROVED]


With El Nino fully here, I have been enjoying making various soups in our crock pot. However, it can be difficult to find soups that are healthy and appropriate for my 21 Day Fix eating.

I recently made the above crockpot beef stew and it is fully 21 Day Fix approved. 
Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
-2 pounds red potatoes, chopped in small cubes
-1 medium onion, chopped
-15 small carrots
-1/4 cup gluten free flour
-1 tbs olive oil
-4 minced garlic cloves
-2 cups low sodium beef broth
-1 tbs dijon mustard
-1 tbs honey
-1 tsp rosemary
-1 tsp thyme
-salt and pepper to taste

How to:
1.) Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
2.) Coat stew meat in flour mixture.
3.) Place onion, potatoes, and carrots in crockpot.
4.) Add olive oil, minced garlic, and beef to the crockpot.
5.) Add mustard, honey, rosemary, and thyme to the crockpot.
6.) Mix all ingredients.
7.) Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

21 Day Fix Containers:
1 yellow, 1 red, 1 green

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & FAT DAD FAT KID WINNER

Personal development is extremely important in so many ways. It helps you to become self-aware, motivated, and focused on yourself and your goals. For personal development I really enjoy listening to podcasts and going on walks. Some of my favorite podcasts are: Chalene Johnson, Judah Smith, and When The Kids Go To Sleep. Another way I like to obtain personal development is through reading. Some of my current favorite personal development books are: The Sweet Life by Dulce Candy Ruiz, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and Fat Dad, Fat Kid by Shay Butler and Gavin Butler.

The past week I have been running a giveaway for the latter book and I am excited to announce that the winner is Mackey! Please send me an e-mail with your mailing address so I can send your copy of Fat Dad, Fat Kid your way! Thanks to all who entered and be sure to check back in tomorrow for another giveaway!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

FASHION WISH LIST

Want It.
Need It.
Got To Have It.

5 items I have had my eyes on, but would never buy myself:

1.) Felt Hat....I love these, but most people don't. I also don't know when and where I would wear it, so I would never buy it myself. 

2.) New True Religions...I worked so hard for my last pair and it was a big deal to me to purchase them. However, now they're two sizes too big for me, and even with a belt they look like I'm going to a 1970's disco. However, I can not justify spending the same amount of money I spent two years ago on these jeans. (Maybe I'll eat a few more cookies...hehe)

3.) Gold iPhone 6...I wish I had never traded in my iPhone for an Android and I am counting the days until June when my 2 year contract is up and I can switch back to the iPhone.

4.) Michael Kors tote bag...It would be perfect for fitting my personal laptop, work laptop, textbooks, and more. However...my backpack will do just fine.

5.) Alex & Ani Autism Speaks bracelet...I already have a collection of Alex & Ani's long enough to reach my elbow, but this one will just be an extra perfect addition to match my passion & career.

*Disclaimer: While I know I live an extremely blessed life full of all my needs and many of my wants, it is still fun to think about what I would do if spending were no concern. Realistically, if I had $1,000 to spare, it would not be spent on any of this stuff, but more on other people, experiences, and really really good food.



Saturday, January 9, 2016

SPOTLIGHT: BIKINI BODY COUNTDOWN

One of my favorite parts of blogging is the connections I have been able to make with other people. A few months ago I took an online course about blogging and stumbled across Bikini Body Countdown. As many people's resolutions this year are to get in shape, I found it fitting to spotlight an inspiring blog that began with a weight loss journey.

Laura began her blog a couple years ago to track her weight loss journey. However, since then it has become more focused on her interests, which still includes fitness. As most of you know, my biggest motivation when I can not muster up the energy to work out is social media. I scroll through Instagrams, blogs, and Twitter accounts of people pushing hard through the same goal of living a healthy life. The same goes for Laura! She also tracks her steps via FitBit and listens to podcasts while working out on the elliptical at the gym.

(Fun Fact: One of Laura's favorite sources for recipes is my sweet sister in Christ, Katie Ferrell, with Dashing Dish.)

One of Laura's personal favorite posts she wrote is called Big Flavor Small Portion, in which Laura is honest about what she will and won't sacrifice when it comes to eating healthy. This is one of my favorite things about her as a blogger. Many people who talk about fitness only show the good side. They post their salad and their workout, but they don't show the wine they enjoy while watching reality TV or their cravings. Laura admits she is not perfect, but she is progressing towards a better version of herself, which makes her relatable to every reader.

Her tips for people starting off on their fitness journey? "Don't make unrealistic goals - that just sets (you) up for failure. Small steps add up to big changes."

Outside of blogging Laura is a freelance writer and also works with clients creating content and marketing materials. When Laura is not blogging, she enjoys traveling, hanging out at the beach, going to concerts, and visiting the happiest place on earth, Disneyland.

For more of Laura, follow her @BikiniCountdown on Twitter and Instagram. She also recently started a YouTube channel. Check out her most recent video below--




Friday, January 8, 2016

NATIONAL BUBBLE BATH DAY

Monday was a rough day for me. It was my first day back to work in two weeks off, I was sleep deprived, and had to jumpstart getting things done for my Master's program. I was EXHAUSTED and extremely overwhelmed. Instead of jumping from one thing to the next frantically, I decided to just stop and breathe. I took a bath, filled with the Lush products I received from people for Christmas, and spent time reading my Bible. It calmed me and made me more ready to tackle the 300 pages of reading (not exaggerating) I needed to get done by Thursday.

Besides relaxing and hitting restart, there are so many more benefits to taking a bath- it improves your circulation, soothes your body, and detoxes the insides and outsides of your body. I encourage each of you to celebrate National Bubble Bath Day with a relaxing break from your day to recharge your batteries and decompress from the chaos of life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

BLESSING BAGS


Working in a low-income neighborhood has been an eye opening experience for me. It has made me realize the blessings and opportunities that have been the norm in my 23 years of life that I unfortunately took for granted. I am thankful to have grown up in a home where I was never concerned about having 3 meals a day, a place to sleep at night, weather appropriate clothing to wear, and extra money for fun activities. Often when I stop for a snack at the 7/11 by work, or am just getting off at the freeway exit in the morning, I notice many people less fortunate then me who have spent the night under a bridge and likely can't remember their last meal. And while I can not provide them with a home or help them search for employment, I am able to make a small difference in their life, through Blessing Bags. 

I have started keeping these bags in my car, either in a small canvas tote, or gallon sized Ziploc bag, with items to help those in need. Some snacks, water, and other goodies allow them even just a tiny amount of help. Above is a sample of one of these bags. Some good items to include:
-water bottle
-hand sanitizer
-toothbrush and toothpaste
-wipes
-chapstick
-sunblock
-snacks (granola bars, oatmeal bars, apple sauce, etc.)
-gum
-soap
-first aid kit

I encourage you to step outside of your norm and reach out to those who have not been as blessed. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

STUDY TIPS

Today is a special day for me. Today I start my Master's program. I am so excited and thankful to have the opportunity to further pursue my passion (Autism Spectrum Disorders.)

Now that school is back in session, that means studying is too. Here are six study tips I picked up over my many years of studying.

1.) Know your learning style. There are typically three learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Knowing how you learn can help you figure out the best way to study. Explore your learning style and find recommendations for people who learn like you. Also pick your professors based on your learning style. If you are a visual learner you will not do well with a professor who lectures the whole two hours with no powerpoint. Ask around and figure out which professors might best fit your learning needs.

2.) Make flash cards. This might sound like something you did for your 7th grade vocabulary, but I swear it helps!

3.) Form study groups. Two brains are always better than one. (Unless the two of you are making a really dumb decision to stay up until 4am playing Mario Kart instead of studying.) Connect with people in your classes. Meet up, bring snacks and caffeine, and quiz each other. Utilize each other's notes. Ask for clarification on things you may not understand but another classmate does.

4.) For every 50 minutes of studying, take a 10 minute break. Refresh your brain. Go for a walk. Drink some water. Anything to be sure you don't get overloaded.

5.) Rewrite your notes. Sometimes the notes you take in class can get messy and unorganized. Rewriting them helps create a more organized way of studying but also allows you to recollect all the information.

6.) Find "your" study space. Not everyone works well in the library. I had my best study sessions alone at a table outside the football stadium. Try a few different places and see what works best for you.

What are your best study tips?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

10 MINUTE WORKOUT & FAT DAD, FAT KID GIVEAWAY

It is a common misconception that to get a good workout in you have to spend two hours in the gym. Believe it or not I have lost 23 pounds in 6 months without even setting foot in the gym. I use at home workout videos, through Beach Body, Tone It Up, and Pinterest. A lot of times when I lead my 21 Day Fitness groups, I add in extra at home workout challenges. One of my favorites is to spell your full name doing the workouts that coincide with each letter. My challenge to you today is to complete this workout spelling your full name (example- I have to do CAITLIN, not CATE.)


I get a lot of fitness inspiration from other people. Recently I read "Fat Dad, Fat Kid" by Shay Butler and Gavin Butler, both of Shaytards fame on YouTube. It is their 30 day journey to fight the "f-word" and get fit. 


I want to giveaway a copy of this book to one of you! 
To enter, comment below & follow me on Instagram @catedimmitt.
Giveaway is open until January 12th at 12pm PST. 
Winner will be announced in a blog post on January 13th.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016 FASHION TRENDS

A new year is here, which means new trends are upon us.
Below are the top 5 predicted trends for 2015:

+X Neckline
+Pleated Skirts
+Cinched Waist Lines
+Fringe
+Orange


I am excited for fringe, but SO not looking forward to seeing orange every where.
What trends are you excited for this year?