Halloween | The healthy and earth friendly way… yes, it can be done

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Its just around the bend, a few weeks away… HALLOWEEN

The weirdest holiday I think we celebrate, the one where safety is a huge concern, along with “how am I going to control the amount of candy my kid receives/eats.”

As you can see from our pictures, we are into Halloween, we are huge nerds and we love to use this holiday to be who we really wish we were even if for just one night. Even before we were parents we loved dressing in Disney themed costumes, mythical creatures, musicians we love, there is even an Edward from twilight in there…

However, Halloween can be a scary night and not like spooky scary because of all the decor but because of all the shenanigans and the unhealthy ideas of how to celebrate this creepy night. So here are some ideas for how to celebrate this ghoulish occasion in the most earth friendly and healthy way possible!

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1.) Host a safe Halloween party or trick or treat in your home or neighborhood!

I know if another parent approached me and asked me if I wanted to do a safe Halloween event so I wouldn’t have to traipse my child through our neighborhood to get candy I didn’t want him to eat, I would say YES YES YES I wanted to do this so badly this year but we will be going through a move so I wont be able to. Its a wonderful idea tho and covers all the issues, Safety!, Healthy! Eco Friendly and FUN!! If you are doing a party in your home start with asking friends and family if they would be interested in working together on it! On pinterest there are just so many awesome healthy ideas for fruit and veggie snacks in a Halloween theme, the ideas are endless! Ask a bunch of people to help, everyone brings a healthy non candy treat, plan some fun party games and activities. Do a Halloween parade with everyone who attends and a costume contest of course! Have the event nice and early so everyone can go home after and become their regular selves before midnight! If you want to do a safe trick or treat in your neighborhood then write up a quick letter to your neighbors about how you want to make the night safe, fun and healthy for the kids. Include some ideas on non candy items. Maybe cool Halloween pencils, tattoos, stickers and such! Plan a time for it to start nice and early and plan a time for it to be over. This is an awesome plan for neighborhoods with lots of families and if everyone gets involved it could make the night one to remember and not one to forget.

2.) Skip the plastic cheap Halloween items and shop local or handmade on Etsy for halloween bags, decor and more!

So this is a big one. We know that as soon as August rolls around we start seeing the LOADS of plastic halloween items in the stores. There are so many handmade shop owners on etsy who make gorgeous items and at an affordable price. I am one of them! I make reusable snack bags, trick or treat and tote bags, even place mats! Shopping for any of these things even for costumes from one of these business owners is supporting local business, its supporting families just like your own and its much better for our economy and our community! Click HERE to view my Etsy shop Artistically Organic and check out my cool Halloween items!! Many shop owners have certain discounts, coupon codes or promotions for holidays so never be afraid to reach out and ASK!!

3.) Show the kids that DIY costumes are super cool too!

I think an awesome, eco friendly way to accomplish the coolest halloween costumes is making them from clothes and items around the house! I like to use clothes I don’t wear often or even shop clearance or thrift stores for clothes I can cut up, sew or transform into my costume idea. The photos above are a great example of using what we already have to make an awesome costume, I used fabric and a hoodie for my sons dragon costume and I used a permanent marker to write the words on my shirt! We also reuse cardboard, plastic items and fabric to construct awesome ideas. I think when this holiday comes around everyone thinks they have to run out to their nearest Halloween store and buy a $50 costume. I want my child to understand that its about having fun and sometimes the most fun comes from being creative and making something awesome to wear on Halloween night! Other ideas include, costume swaps with friends and family, looking online to see if any used costumes are sold at a reasonable price, and more! These ideas will help with costumes and help to make the little ones understand that creativity is super important when it comes to celebrating Halloween! Using some of these tips will be sure to make your Halloween extra fun!

4.) Check out your local community activities for Halloween!

Many towns and communities arrange safe and fun Halloween events. Sometimes these events can even be FREE or very low cost. Find out when they are and participate, maybe your church has a trick or treat, get involved, maybe the local main st. does a safe Halloween night, these things can be so fun and not put as much pressure on parents to make everything perfect. Do lots of activities around this season so there isn’t as much pressure for the big Halloween night. If you go to a pumpkin festival, apple picking and hayrides then staying at home with some friends on Halloween night will still seem fun to the kiddos! Giving kids special jobs to plan fun events, including them in the decisions and planning is the key to them enjoying something other than candy trick or treating. There are lots of alternatives, make a new tradition for your family. Go pick out some spooky Halloween books at your local library and have a scary Halloween story night with friends, the ideas are endless!! The most important thing to remember is having fun, that is what this should be all about!

Wishing you and your family a lovely, safe, happy Halloween!!

To the introverted parent…

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My blog is typically about food, healthy eating and living, but there has been something on my mind that I thought I should share with some other mommies, maybe even daddies, guardians, caretakers etc.

In the last two or so years my fiancé and I have learned a lot about personality types. We have followed the Myers Briggs personality system and discovered so much about ourselves and others around us. I am an INFJ and my fiancé is an ENFJ.

When we became parents we were so curious what this information would mean about our parenting. We learned some interesting things about ourselves (I should say myself because my fiancé felt like he knew himself and his personality very well.)

I think the most surprising was to find out I was an introvert. Some of you who may know me might be going “oh yeah you totally are” or like me going “no way, you? An introvert?” It was weird because my biggest critique from many is that I’m too pushy, or that I over-react, I don’t like things unless they go my way, that I am too over sensitive (which I often was confused about) So to hear about my introverted self and my needs, how to recharge, it was like meeting myself for the first time.

Anyways, my point in bringing this up is, with parenting, being an introvert, it can be tricky. The first thing I want to say is, I love my son so much words can not explain, I love him more than I ever thought I could love. From a very young age I knew I wanted to be a parent and there were certain things I would not let happen to my child. I didn’t grow up in a very mentally healthy environment. I don’t feel as though my parents understood my mental needs, they didn’t check to make sure that I was learning to tackle the world in a way that would allow me to flourish.

Now that I am a parent, my main focus is my baby. I want to make sure he is being challenged, I want to make sure he feels heard and listened to, I want to make sure he knows that when he needs me I will be there EVERY TIME. All of this plus working through the day as much as I can, interacting with friends and family who need and want our attention, at the end of the day leaves me mentally exhausted. I only have one child I cannot even fathom the average day for those of you who have maybe three, four or more small children.

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So being introverted as I am, where is the recharge time? Part of what makes me, me, is that I need time to focus back in, I need time to withdraw from the stress and business of the world and collect myself. I do this most often while accomplishing something creative. Where is there time to just have a cup of coffee and read, maybe knit, draw a sketch or paint? I’ve been told by some parents… “oh you don’t get any time for that, good luck with that!” I’ve also been told by family… “welcome to parenthood it’s not about you anymore!” I guess maybe for some of them it’s not essential to their mental health to have that time and space. Or they could possibly be neglecting themselves and thinking that it’s normal.

Then I get to this point where I feel guilty, I think many of us do. There are families out there without food or shelter and I’m whining about down time? I think about those families all the time, now being a mommy, seeing a child in need makes me quiver with anguish thinking “what if that was my baby?” I donate to whatever I can and have even hosted events in the past to raise funds to help children with malaria and other ailments. These small things done by many, make a difference and we intend to do more as often as we can.

Nonetheless, we can’t let ourselves go without proper self care just because others are suffering because then who can we help? If you run yourself down can you help anyone else then? I believe in a small amount of self care comes ample opportunities to help others around you.

So being partners in life and parents raising a baby we have found ways to help one another recharge and have time to ourselves. My fiancé, he isn’t an introvert so he cares for his mental needs in a different way than I do. So we both have to be understating of the others needs and give each other ample time and means to recharge ourselves. Sometimes it’s even going out together. Finding a babysitter for a movie night or some dinner. Those things are so important.

Some days though, he comes home and I look at him and just say “I need some time.” Maybe it’s teething and the baby has been wanting to nurse and crying all day, maybe we went out to do errands and he was a mess the whole time fussing and crying. He gets it completely, either he will take the baby in for a shower so I can go have a break, a cup of coffee and some fresh air. Or maybe I just need to go out, take a drive, go to the grocery store alone (that’s a real treat for me) or poke around the book store by myself.

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I feel so grateful to have the partner that I do, and that he gets me. He knows that in order for me to lead a happy life I need that time. It’s not always that I need him to provide that time for me though, I find ways to get in a little quiet me time. During the day, nap time is a must. Many times during the bustling summer season I have to work during that time to ensure anything is getting done, but sometimes I just endulge, sit with a fresh cup of coffee, maybe look at Pinterest for a little while to get inspired, work on a project I’ve been trying to finish or start a new one.

I also find time in the evenings, many nights baby and daddy will fall asleep simultaneously at about 9pm leaving me sitting there like “what do I want to do?” I have stayed up way too late many a night trying to complete an artistic project that I started and although I’m bleary eyed in the morning it feels good to be having that me time and accomplishing my artistic projects.

I post many of my artistic accomplishments on my Etsy shop for others to enjoy, you can view them here. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LexaJohnsonPhoto

So to all parents out there, you’re doing great, keep doing your best and that’s all we can offer our kids, our best. To introverted parents out there, I understand. It’s so hard to be fulfilling that child or those children’s every need all day. You count, you matter and you deserve time for you. Don’t feel guilty leaving the kids with a trusted babysitter to go out or to even do something alone. Find ways to take care of you.

It’s not selfish if you don’t go to every play date invite, or if you don’t want to go to the big family outing on a week night because that’s the only time your significant other is home and you just want to watch a movie and relax. Not everyone is going to understand why, not everyone is like you, but if you’re caring for yourself then soon you will be back out enjoying their company and doing those things with happiness because you’re taking care of you too, you’re leaving time for your needs and everyone (including your kiddos) will be happier for it.

Until next time…. -Alexa-

Five Reasons To Choose A Healthier Lifestyle!

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Hi I am back!

I know I have been away from this page for some time now but Its been a crazy time and now my plan is to be back more often and sharing awesome tips tricks and ways to have a healthier lifestyle!

So why would we do all this? Why do people strive so hard to “be healthy?” I mean what is the point when the donuts, sodas, cheesy dishes and candy are calling us? Its simple and I am going to give you my top five reasons to choose a healthier lifestyle.

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NUMBER ONE: My Baby!!

The very first reason I choose the healthiest lifestyle I can, is for my child. He is just a little one and so far does not have a great deal of influence on what his lifestyle is. Although I think we might be heading into a terrible two phase early and let me tell this boy knows what he wants and never gives up! Anyway, he is just a little guy and the foods he eats, the things he comes into contact with, thats all my doing mostly. I am going to do my absolute best to make sure that he eats the best foods I can find, and he knows what true health really is so that when he is an adult and he has to fend for himself he will know what to do! I truly believe that what children “will and wont eat” starts at home. My son is one and a half and there is hardly a vegetable he wont eat. He eats avocados (his first food) beets, turnip, spinach, arugula, asparagus, brussel sprout, potatoes, carrots, every and all fruit and so much MORE! I know he will go through phases and sometimes wont like everything but for the most part if we consistently eat right then even on his worst most picky days he will be just fine!

NUMBER TWO: Myself & The Love of My Life!!

I also choose this life for ME! Not only me but my partner as well, my team mate, my love, my man, my honey bee so to speak 😉

We love our lifestyle and its taken a slow and long transformation from processed foods to amazing foods but here we are. We chose this together and we made the journey together. When one of us is feeling run down the other is there to go “have you had enough water, greens, have you juiced in a while? When was the last time you had a glass of Kombucha?” We are there to remind the other why we are doing this. Its so we can get the most full experience out of our life, it starts with health.

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NUMBER THREE: The Environment!!!

Not everyone knows or believes this but its TRUE, being healthier is better for the planet too! All those beautiful animals, the amazing plants, even buzzing bees. All of them are in danger because of the crazy things we are doing to our planet. By YOU eating as many organic items as you can, choosing produce over a packaged product, you are playing a part in helping. Bees are in danger because of all the chemicals, pesticides and nasty things we are exposing them to. Without Bees we can say goodbye to all the beautiful fruits and vegetables that we love. We all need to step up and take a little responsibility for this planet we are so lucky to have. Recycle, choose eco friendly products, and be healthy!! The animals thank you for it, the plants, the bees too!! We will thank ourselves later for doing this NOW!

NUMBER FOUR: IT FEELS GOOD!!

Now, some people might debate this but its the truth. No matter how hard it is in the beginning to set that candy down and choose the apple, when you get into the habit of being healthy, truly healthy, when your stomach is used to the kind foods you are feeding it, you will feel AWESOME! It certainly takes a little time and self discipline there are no shortage of temptations with processed sugars and chemicals in them. However if you can make this slow transition into health and wellness you will find yourself feeling better in so many ways! Less anxiety, more motivation, better sleep at night and focus during the day and so so much more!!

NUMBER FIVE: EXPERIENCE MORE IN LIFE!!

In the end if you asked me why my healthy lifestyle is one of the best things I have ever done I would say this: Being a healthy person has let me do so many things I could not have done before. I am emotionally, physically and spiritually in the best place I have ever been in. I sleep better, I am able to accept difficult situations with patience and understanding. I find our lifestyle has made parenting easier and makes us happy that our son will have a healthy start in life and a base where he can come back to should he fall off the wagon and need to refresh. Every step we have taken towards a healthier future has been successful and beneficial to our lives. Not needed to worry about eating better or exercising more enables us to spend that energy else where. Plain and simple once you start making that transition into a healthier life you will be experiencing more life and in such a better way! We should all help one another get there if its our dream to do so.

Wishing you well! -Alexa-

Making Changes | Why It Is Important

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Wow, its been nearly two weeks since I have posted. SO sorry about that! See, lots of things have been happening! Things that are very relevant to a topic I have really been dying to write a post about. Another aspect of health that I think is sometimes neglected, is mental & emotional health. I don’t know about you, but for me, my mental and emotional state plays a pivotal role in my ability to be healthy on the rest of the spectrum. If I am feeling stressed, depressed, angry or emotional it can really impact my healthy eating and my healthy mindset.

Something I want to share which has just developed recently is a big change we have made. A change that really effected how we live. Well many changes have naturally occurred since the birth of our son, but we have made certain adjustments as well. Since Augustus was born, we have fallen into this kind of routine, Daddy works all day every day, we miss him, mommy works from home and when daddy gets home she runs out and takes photos and comes home and continues to work. This looked promising in the beginning. Daddy was making good money at his job, although it was not the work he saw himself doing for a lifetime it was a good temporary income source. Mommy has her photography business which she has been working on growing and cultivating for years and is finally starting to gain some recognition. This was our life, our dynamic.

However, there was more than met the eye with this scenario. Mommy was up all night with baby by herself because daddy had to do lots of physical labor at work and needed his sleep. Then she still had lots of editing and computer work to do during the day while juggling baby. When daddy returned home in the evening he was exhausted and was not in the mood to go out or do any activities, work was draining him. Mommy craved a few moments of personal time but felt bad because many days were very difficult for daddy. It was really hard. The last thing mommy wanted was to stay in the house all evening when she had already been there all day and the last thing daddy wanted to do was go out when he had a hard day at work in the elements. Clearly we noticed before long that this was not working.

We would sit together in the evening after dinner, while settling the baby down to sleep and discuss why this was so difficult. We wanted to bask in the joy of our new family, our son, we wanted to be happy. We felt so lucky in so many ways but we also felt like all happiness and joy was missing from our lives many times. We had this beautiful new baby boy and instead of enjoying him we were stressed and arguing because we just missed each other and felt like we didn’t recognize ourselves anymore. So it wasn’t long before we were searching for a change. The first change we made, lowered our expenses and moved, this was in preparation to shop for our first home. We decided if we were going to bust our butts paying for a home it might as well be our own. That helped. Then after an arduous and stressful move we decided to search out other changes. Daddy made a job change that provided him more income, this seemed great at first but the job was miserable and he didn’t find he was surrounded with anyone like minded during his work day and that really brought him down.

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We struggled with surrounding ourselves with positive encouraging people that would help propel us forward so that we could in turn do the same for them. All that we heard were comments like “get used to it” or “this is life” we could not imagine this was all our life would be for the years to come. We watched documentaries about successful people and listened to podcasts about bettering ourselves and doing what we love. We knew there was a way we just needed a better system.

So we ended up deciding, in one of our many discussions about our future, that my photography skills had to be worth more than I was getting from them presently. I had studied for years with Photoshop and mentored with other photographers, updating my equipment and learning more and more each year. We thought, there must be a way for me to make more money and not be chained to my desk all day and night. So I began searching online. Scrolling through freelance photography opportunities and graphic design job listings.

Finally I came upon a job listing for a real estate photographer looking to have more full time work in the field. That was a field that I had experience in, and found relatively simple and enjoyable. So I applied. I called them every day, I learned as much as I could about the company and realized very quickly this was my dream job. I would imagine some must have thought me insane for a few reasons. One, I have always been an advocate for my own business and why I would never accept just a “job” and two because I was applying for a job in the middle of a bustling end to summer and a hectic start to fall. I didn’t want to get my hopes up but I was excited. So after phone interview and a grueling photo test that made me question everything I knew about photography, I got the job. I was offered a position as an official professional real estate photographer for VHT Studios.

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Many of you might be asking things like… “after running your own business why on earth would you want a job?” or “I can imagine you get paid way less per job than if you were independent, why would you want that.” Well if you wondered those things, you are not wrong. However to me, not having to search for work, not having to scavenge for my jobs was attractive and more consistent work was great too! Also I would not be required to do any editing, which was a huge plus, that meant more time with my family rather than on my computer. This was something totally unexpected that if I was approached with two years ago I would have turned down instantly. However, I have learned life is full of surprises and you have to take things one step at a time, right now it could not be more perfect for me, for our family.

So we started discussing how this was going to work, how could I take on this job. I won’t go into the boring details of how and what we discussed but in the end we decided Augustus was NOT going to daycare. That was something we both agreed we were NOT comfortable with. So we figured out how we both could make it work. Its a risk we are taking, me starting a position like this one. It is a large change in our usual routine. However from our extensive search for keys to success and happiness, it seems to me that no one who got where they wanted to go, ever did so without taking some risks. This feels so right, we feel like we are on the verge of some great new things. We see light at the end and we breathe air with new possibility.

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For the first time in so long, I don’t spend most of my time in my lounge clothes juggling a baby and my work. I get to dress up more often in the nice clothes I used to wear before I was a mommy, and I get to chat with clients, go on lunch meetings, enjoy being a working woman. I get to see GORGEOUS homes with impeccable decor and style!! I get to see amazing design inspiration and talk to amazing people. However I get to do this knowing my baby is safe, with his daddy, happy. Not to mention his daddy is happy to be with him getting to spend more time with him, not killing himself every day working a job he dislikes. On the days where I am at home with my boy and daddy is working I enjoy it, I love being in my yoga pants and playing blocks with my baby.

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However the best part of all this change, is some days, we are all together. We have breakfast together, we stay in our jammies and watch a Disney movie together. We finally have some balance and believe me we are looking forward to more of it. It is amazing when you actively search for how you WANT to live and make the necessary changes to get there. We almost though it was impossible to do this being new parents with a small baby, we were having so much difficulty taking any risk because of fear that we wouldn’t be able to provide for our son. Little did we know that we would be able to not only provide for him but enjoy him and be present if we just tweaked our life a little bit.We are discovering that we do not have to accept what is handed to us all the time. We do not have to work jobs that we hate because we are afraid, we do not have to stay stagnant because we fear risk. We can create our own destiny and our own lifestyle and love it. We want to set a healthy example for our son in all aspects of health, including how we life our life. We want to show him that he can do whatever he wants and he can also have goals that are attainable.

We recently celebrated our son’s baptism, it was a beautiful occasion. We both got to be a part of the planning and we both, along with friends and family, were able to make it a joyous day. It felt like we were being blessed in so many ways, more than just our son’s beginning to his own spiritual journey. We are looking forward to more joyous occasions and celebrating as we end our 2016 year and begin 2017. We are looking forward to celebrating our son’s first birthday, a beautiful holiday season, shopping for and purchasing our first family home, and much more.

Oh… and to anyone concerned about the future of Alexa Johnson Photography, and Artistically Organic, do not worry. I am still going to be doing portraits and weddings in my time aside from my new job and I will be sharing my healthy living ideas and thoughts here regularly. Thank you for following and being a part of this amazing life.

How do you make changes in your life to live the way you want? Are there some changes that you have considered making but are afraid to? How do you make sure you are staying in a healthy emotional and mental state? I would love to know what your story is! Message me directly or comment below!

 

 

Avocado, Spinach, Tomato, Pita Wrap!

This wrap was delicious and easy!!

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First I started with pita bread, I sliced avocados and put them in the pita pockets. I spread some hummus on the inside of the pita bread also. Once I filled it with avocados, spinach and tomatoes I also added some peach salsa. It was so delicious!!

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You can customize this recipe with other things you like. You can use different veggies or hummus. Or even substitute the salsa for hot sauce or something else you like. I hope you like this quick recipe!

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Healthy snack tips when cravings hit!!

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It happens to all of us right? After lunch, late at night, it can happen often! We get a craving for a snack.  If we are out and about it’s easy to grab something quick but not always a healthy choice.  I’m going to go over some tips to avoid grabbing those not so healthy craving snacks and to keep you on a healthy track!

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1.)   Don’t buy it: DO NOT BUY JUNK!! This is the number one way to avoid eating junk foods and sugary snacks that have us craving more. Instead buy a bag of apples, oranges, a bunch of bananas. Reach for those things when you are hungry.

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2.) Don’t limit yourself:  If your hungry and you would really like some bananas don’t trick yourself into thinking that you can only have one banana a day, have a few, slice them up and put them in a bowl with some  almond butter or peanut butter.  When I say don’t limit I mean produce, I don’t mean processed foods. Bananas are one of those fruits that are very inexpensive and great for your body so if that’s going to fill your craving then have as much as you need! If you want to  eat an entire carton of raspberries then do that! Many people would say “that’s way too expensive you shouldn’t do that” but if we think about it a coffee and a pastry can run more than $5 at some places where as a carton of berries can be anywhere from $3-$5.  The cost is relatively the same but the benefits are incomparable.

3.) Have healthy snacks on hand: Maybe my pregnancy taught this but I’ve learned that it’s much easier to stay healthy when you have snacks on hand all the time.  I like to have a lunchbox with me in my car full of bananas apples oranges figs and even trail mix.  This way if your hungry it’s easier to grab some healthy snacks from your car or lunch box then run through that drive-through and get that coffee and donut.

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4.) Be creative, try something new: Try a smoothie, there are SO MANY recipes and healthy snack ideas!! Create your own snack using healthy ingredients you love! I love to experiment with different snack ideas and find something I love!!

5.) Don’t be fooled: Many companies make processed foods claiming to be “healthy” and “natural.” Don’t fall for this nonsense. Many dieting companies make snack bars claiming to be under a certain amount of calories, but they are filled with preservatives and chemicals. Even if these snacks are lower in calories than produce that you love, it’s still not healthier. You are much better off snacking on a piece of fruit. These fake “healthy alternatives” actually make you crave sugary processed foods more, so they are the opposite of what you want.

6.) Prepare Food Ahead of Time: Take a little time in the kitchen maybe when youre making another meal and prepare some snacks for another time. Slice some fruit for layer, maybe a pineapple, watermelon. Cut up some vegetables to eat with some hummus. The more preparation you do, the more likely you are to make good choices.

I hope these tips help! Below are some of my favorite snack ideas!!

Assorted fruits and veggies

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Multi grain toast with almond butter and a side of fruit

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Avocado slices with red pepper hummus

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Fruit

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Sliced bananas with raspberries and dates

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Banans almond butter and dates

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Fresh fruit and veggie juice

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fresh homemade avocado tomato salsa

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What kind of healthy snacks do you like? Share your ideas I would love to hear them!!

 

Health & Beauty | How they go hand in hand

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Beauty. For many of us it requires lots of work and sometimes time we don’t have. I know so many women who wish their hair was healthier, thicker,longer, and wish for a clear complexion. This post does not exclude men either, I know many men who wish for thicker hair, clearer skin etc…

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My appearance is something I have struggled with since I was young. Looking back now it’s so sad how young girls have a negative image of themselves. I hated my long curly hair so much as a young girl, I couldn’t tame it, I just wanted it to be straight and style it like all the other girls. I was always trying to change my hair. What I never realized is that in order to be my most beautiful self I had to accept and honor my hair the way it was.

I don’t think I learned to love my hair and my self until just recently in the last few years actually. I’m sure we all know the feeling, searching for anything to make our beauty routines easier. What I never would have guessed is that healthy eating and healthy lifestyle was the most important step I needed to take for myself and my body.

When I was a teen, I used to straighten my hair as much as I could. I would spend hours on end taming my long locks to look like the other girls at school. This was really damaging to my hair but luckily then I didn’t have as much time to do it constantly. Once I became about 18-20 I experimented with my hair and my looks a lot more. I dyed my hair, straightened, curled, and much more. This is when my hair really started to suffer.

From all the chemicals, hot tools and abuse my hair started to break. To make things worse I wasn’t even sleeping properly or eating right. I was always breaking out with blemishes and trying to cover those with more makeup. I had no clue how to make this situation better, I was so embarrassed of my skin and my hair. Never had I ever had such a problem with my skin and hair. I struggled to hide my flaws and keep up my makeup and hair routine.

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It wasn’t till my hair was literally breaking off in chunks I decided to do something different. My mother in law gave me some advice, to use a more natural olive oil curl treatment. It never occurred to me to use something more natural in my hair. But it wasn’t really until I started eating right, sleeping, and taking flax seed oil that I really noticed an improvement in my hair and skin.

My curls came back and they were healthier than ever. From then on I vowed to use only natural products on my hair and take better care of myself. I learned a valuable lesson about my beauty routines. I needed to give my hair and skin respect. I couldn’t pile on makeup every day it wasn’t great for my complexion. I learned to not wear makeup as much and in turn my skin got so much healthier. Now I rarely get a breakout and when I do it can be easily remedied. I make sure to keep hydrated, that helps with my skin and hair, I eat lots of healthy foods that help also.

Of course during my pregnancy my hair and nails were especially beautiful. I was eating very healthy, sleeping and taking prenatal vitamins. Now I still take meticulous care of my skin, hair nails and just myself in general. Here are some tips if you are struggling with keeping clear skin or want healthier hair.

1.) Keep Hydrated: Drinking enough water is so important to keep your skil lively and healthy. Make sure you are drinking a few glasses a day, carry a water bottle with you to encourage hydration.

2.) Limit Hot Tools: Accept your hair for what it is! Give it a break and try styling it in non envasive ways without heat. Try some braids if you have unruly hair try some natural leave in conditioner or gels.

3.) Eat Healthy: Eating the proper fruits and vegetables can seriously aid in helping your beauty routine. Many foods are proven to clear skin and give hair beautiful shine. How much easier will it be to not have to cover those blemishes with concealer or try to get shine back with hair products.

4.) Respect Your Skin: Give your skin a break as much as you can, I know many of us can’t go without makeup for our professional jobs, but take it off when you get home. Try going without concealer or makeup when outdoors, expose your skin to sun, it’s good for it.

5.) Use Healthy Products: It’s best to read everything you use on your body. I always make sure I am making my best effort to only use natural safe products in my hair and skin. There are so many products out there that can do harm to your body. When you’re using natural products you will find clear skin and healthy hair are a lot easier to obtain.

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I hope these tips help you. I hope you can make your own connection with healthy lifestyle and beauty. Let’s face it, we all would love to have a shorter beauty routine, so if being healthier can help why not right? Just another excuse to make some better healthy living habits. What do you do to stay healthy and beautiful? I would love to know!

Six Healthy Lunch Ideas

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Sometimes in the middle of a busy day getting a good lunch together can be a challenge. Since becoming a mother I have learned the especially challenging task of juggling a baby and taking care of myself. Some days I struggle to make a simple healthy meal, instead reaching for easy snacks sometimes not always healthy. I have noticed that if I create healthy meals that I crave, then I am much more likely to make time to make those meals then grab quick snacks.

1.) spiralized zucchini and tomato sauce with vegetables

This meal is so simple! I have an amazing spiralizer which takes only a moment to turn a zucchini into a delicious bowl of noodles! I often top it with some delicious tomato sauce and some of my favorite raw veggies. I usually leave the zucchini noodles raw and warm the sauce then the temperature is perfect to eat! This takes no time at all for a delicious healthy lunch!

2.) spiralized summer squash and pesto or tomato sauce 

Just like I said above this easy spiralized meal is so delicious! The spiralized can be used with many vegetable, my favorites are definitely zucchini and summer squash. I often pair this with a dish of fruits and vegetables and it makes a delicious and healthy meal.

3.) fresh raw salad 

Another delicious and quick lunch is a fresh raw salad! I love to mix it up with different greens, arugula, spinach, then adding my favorite toppings, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, almonds, sunflower seeds etc… This is a refreshing and delicious meal that makes me feel like I am staying true to the healthy lifestyle I live to lead.

4.) sautéed veggies and tofu on a bed of greens

Sometimes I need a little something more filling when I know I will be tackling a long day. I love to sautéed some veggies with some tofu and put that atop a bed of my favorite greens. This satisfies my savory taste craving and is healthy and delicious.

5.) fresh veggie salsa with chips or pita bread

Is there anything better than fresh salsa? I love to chop tomatoes, onion, peppers and sometimes add cilantro or beans to a delicious home made salsa. I also add some sriracha sauce to this amazing meal. I often use some organic quinoa or flax seed chips to enjoy this delicious lunch!

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6.) sautéed veggies and sweet potatoes

Sometimes if I have a little more time on my hands then I enjoy some sweet potatoes. I chop them very small so they will cook quicker. I slice beets and sautéed them as well. This makes a delicious mid day meal. I often pair this with some raw veggies on the side and on a bed of greens. This is a fantastic healthy choice!

I hope some of these meal ideas will work for you too! I will write another article on tips to staying healthy for busy mommies. What are some easy healthy meals that you make for a mid day lunch? I would love to know!!

Tofu, Mango, Spinach Salad

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Sometimes it’s hard to make just the right salad. Sometimes salads get boring. My goal is to inspire people to love their greens, love their salads. My photos aren’t the best this evening, I’m dealing with a teething baby, but I plan to take better quality images later on. I wanted to share this amazing salad that I threw together in less than ten minutes.

We were hungry this evening dinner time was here but we had a long day and didn’t feel like making a huge mess in the kitchen. I knew we needed something healthy, something delicious, something easy.

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I decided to make a healthy delicious, filling, fun salad. I started with a few different types of greens. Baby kale, romaine, spinach and arugula, I find mixing different greens makes it more interesting. After arranging my bed of greens, I chopped some veggies for my salad. I also decided that I wanted a sweet taste in my salad too. I chopped some mango, red pepper, onion, radish, and tomato. After arranging the veggies on my salad I chopped some firm organic tofu and lightly cooked it in some olive oil on an iron skillet. I seasoned my tofu with cayenne pepper, paprika, and black pepper. I cooked the tofu lightly and then tossed it on top of the salad. Lastly I added some avocado halves and walnut pieces to my salad.

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Most dressings are filled with sugar and additives so I’m always careful which dressings I use on my healthy salads. I used an organic, sesame ginger dressing on my salad. I only drizzled a small amount on top of it.

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This bright salad was fresh, delicious, filling and healthy. The flavors of the sweet mango, the avocado and the spice on the cooked tofu went perfectly together. We devoured these salads, big smiles on our faces. The best part was it was easy quick and didn’t dirty too many dishes! We were even able to share our salads with our little guy, he enjoys crawling around from one of us to the other begging for another slice of mango or avocado hehe! There are so many ways we can make eating our greens and veggies more interesting and fun! Hope you enjoyed this recipe more to come soon!

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Berry, Sweet Potato, Spinach, Salad | A Summer Fall Fusion

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We all could stand to eat more greens right? However it’s not always easy. Sometimes we need a little excitement, a little motivation to urge us to eat those greens. I like to make interesting unexpected salads to motivate me to make a salad at least once a day. This salad is a delicious combo of sweet berries, fresh veggies, and the unexpected twist of soft sweet potato as well! Of course as always you can experiment and add different veggies or other ingredients you love.

For my greens I started with baby kale, and spinach. On top of that I chopped some mushroom, radish and onion. I also added some raspberries, strawberries, almonds and some cooked sweet potato chunks. I was already cooking the sweet potato for my little guy so I just added some extra for myself! This recipe is so quick and delicious. The sweet berries mixed with the crispy greens, and the soft sweet potatoes on top, make an amazing fusion of flavor.

This salad is interesting and delicious. Fall is on our doorstep and we are going to be ready for all our favorite fall foods! Let’s get ready for it and put a spin on our green salads!! I challenge you to make yourself an interesting salad this week! How do you liven up your salad? We would love to hear about it!

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