My Top 5 Basic Hair Care Products

I love having long, healthy hair- but that means I have to take extra good care of it! I have tried many, many hair products over the years, from all different price points, and these are a few of my absolute must-haves. I also have favorite special products like masks & treatments, as well as products that I use to achieve certain styles (curls, waves, ponytails, etc.). Let me know if you want to see more specific favorites, but for now- here are some of my everyday basic products that I never go without!

Smoked Salmon Salad with Avocado

It's a busy week around here, but never too busy for a healthy meal! I made this salad the other night, and packed it "to-go" for work the next day.

I recently picked up a package of smoked salmon from Trader Joe's, but hadn't come up with a way to use it yet. I tested it out on some Mary's Gone Crackers, and loved it. So, I decided to come up with a quick salad using the smoked salmon as my protein. 

This salad looks fancy & tastes delicious, but is SO quick & easy to toss together! Plus, it's good for you. :) 

I love using simple ingredients that pair well together, & letting their fresh flavors shine through. No need for thick dressings or extra "stuff".

Pumpkin Spice Protein Latte

Today is the first day of fall! My favorite time of the year. In honor of today, I bring you guys one of the most popular flavor combinations of the autumn season: Pumpkin spice.

I have always loved Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte, but it's not something I want to indulge in daily. I like to save it for special occasions when I feel like treating myself. I still crave that flavor though... especially when I pass the "PSL" signs out on every corner Starbucks in town.

That's why I decided to create my own. Pumpkin not only tastes amazing, but is a great source of dietary fiber and vitamin A. When mixed with the natural sweetness of coconut sugar and the warmth of the spices, it makes a perfect fall combination. I added whey protein powder to mine for a boost of protein along with the sweet vanilla flavor.

You can easily heat this up & drink it hot, but I served mine over ice. I love it chilled for these weeks that are sort of "in-between" in terms of the weather-- not exactly summer, but not cold enough for fall.

What I Bought: Eating Clean at Costco

Costco is known for huge quantities at great prices. There are lots of not so good choices at Costco (think frozen egg rolls, monster bags of chips, jumbo muffins as big as your head, etc.), but there are lots of good choices there, too! I love Costco for many things, including pet supplies, produce, laundry soap, meats, household items, & water bottles.

If you're shopping for a small household, I recommend finding a partner for your trips to Costco. I usually go with my mom, that way we can split things. It allows you to take advantage of the great deals without having too much food (especially when it comes to fresh items that will go bad before you can get to them!). 

Here's what I bought at Costco-- all budget & Paleo/healthy lifestyle friendly! :)

Chicken Taco Lettuce Wraps

Here's a quick meal I came up with using rotisserie chicken! This is my play on a typical lettuce wrap, but using Mexican flavors to create a healthy taco. I think these would be fun served family style, with the filling in a large bowl for people to serve themselves.

It requires no cooking at all & is so fresh and flavorful. If you don't have a rotisserie chicken on hand, feel free to substitute saut├ęd ground beef or grilled chicken breast. You can also wrap the taco filling in corn tortillas~ it's up to you! The leftover filling is perfect over romaine for a lunch salad the next day. Enjoy!

What I Bought: Target Shoes!

I could spend hours in Target... clothes, makeup, food, candles, home decor, cleaning products... They just have such a fun selection of quality items that I find it hard to resist. On my latest trip to Target, I found shoes! 

Target shoes have always been either a huge hit or a big miss for me. I've bought pairs that were so uncomfortable & impossible to break in, while others (often from the same brand!) have just been perfect. This time was a huge hit :) 

Sparkling Berry Sangria

After a super long, way too busy day like today... I seriously need a glass of wine. It's also a Monday, meaning more work tomorrow, so I don't want to overdo it on the alcohol. 

This works for me as a drink & dessert in one. It's fruity, fizzy, & best of all- healthy. No soda, no extra sugar, no added "junk"... So no guilt here ;)

The mineral water gives some carbonation and also cuts down on the amount of alcohol you're drinking. I love how the frozen fruit keeps your drink cold & also soaks up some flavor.. great as a little treat once the drink is gone! 

This recipe is great for dressing up a cheap bottle of wine (think Trader Joe's "2 Buck Chuck"). It may also be a winner for those of you who don't really love the taste of wine by itself.

What to Pack: Healthy To-Go

My friend actually “requested” this post, and I loved the idea. She wanted a post on how to pack healthy food for an entire day in order to refrain from “giving up & going to the drive-thru”. Like myself, she has just begun a semester of full-time internship plus full-time night classes. So, basically, the both of us spend 8 am- 5 pm working & then head straight to our university for class from 6pm- 9pm. If that’s not a long day, I don’t know what is! Mix that with a 40 minute commute each way, & it leaves me with a serious lack of that whole “time” thing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t “eat out” during the week. I prefer to spend my money on fresh groceries that I can prepare myself from home. I like having control over what I will be eating throughout the day, & what ingredients will be going into my meals. I find it much easier to maintain a healthy diet (& weight!) when my food choices are made in advance, rather than “in the moment” when I’m hungry & may or may not be thinking clearly. It’s easy to go overboard on food or make a poor meal choice when you’re starving and short on time.

I always start my day with coffee & a solid breakfast at home to get me going (ok, not gonna lie... it’s usually consumed in the car while I drive). Then I take 3 snacks, lunch, & dinner in my lunch box "to-go". I don’t always finish the snacks, but I would rather have too much than not enough. When you run out of food is when you end up hungry & desperate, tempted by a fast food joint—don’t do it! Here are a few tips to make it easier:

Chef Salad & My Go-To Dressing

I love salads for a quick lunch or an easy meal to take on the go. They make it easy to get all of the protein & nutrients we need, all in one convenient serving. 

Because I eat them so often, I'm always trying to mix it up & create different combinations. Here's an easy "chef salad" I came up with using some basic ingredients I always have in the fridge. Stay tuned until the end, where I also included my go-to dressing that I put on almost everything.

Chef Salad

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

Here I am again today with another healthy Paleo recipe!.............. Just kidding ;)

Today’s recipe is definitely not Paleo, but hey—everyone deserves a splurge every once in awhile. These cookies are actually not for me, but are being packaged up & sent away to someone very special to me... my little brother!

My brother, Alex, just moved about 5 hours away for college. It’s a bittersweet feeling... I’m sad that we won’t get to spend as much time together, but I am also SO proud of the smart decisions he has made & where his life is headed. So, I’m looking at the bright side & embracing the opportunity to embarrass him from a distance by sending him care packages!

Simple Everyday Makeup

I love playing with makeup & doing fun colors & dramatic eye looks, but let's get real..... "ain't nobody got time for that" on a busy morning! I save the fun makeup for special occasions (when I actually do have time) & stick to a basic routine on "normal" days. 

This is my go-to look for work or school; when I want to look put together, but not overdone. It gives me that little confidence-boost while still looking professional.

It's also a great time saver for busy mornings... only takes a few minutes once you get the hang of it. :)