5 Tips to Stay Hydrated

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone.#FindYourSparkle #CollectiveBias

5 tips for staying hydrated


This post is a little different from my normal wednesday posts because it applies to everyone not just brides-to-be! This year I have been making a conscious effort to stay hydrated, not only does it help me not snack as much throughout the day but it helps me think straighter!

5 tips to stay hydrated throughout the day:

1. Eat food that has a high water content. Apples, cucumber, celery- most fruits and vegetables fall into this category.

2. Whenever you’re hungry, drink a glass of water before you eat anything. We often think that we are hungry when our bodies are telling us that we are thirsty.

3. Drink flavored water like Dasani Sparkling water. Drinking flavored sparkling water makes drinking water feel less like a chore, & more like a treat! Before I discovered that Dasani made a flavored sparkling water, I would add fresh lemon or lime juice to my sparkling water. This saves me a lot of time having it all together in one can. The cans are really cute too. The slim design makes it easy to pack in your purse or lunch box. My favorite is the lime flavor but they come in Lime, Berry, Lemon, Tropical Pineapple, & Black Cherry. (I buy mine at Walmart- located in the bottled water aisle). Check out some fun recipes with Dasani Sparkling water here!
Dasani-WalmartDASANI LIME
4. Keep water with you at all times (even if it means having two drinks at your desk). Water is free at restaurants so even if you’re craving something else to drink- order a water too! Simple habits like these can increase your water intake dramatically!

5. Make it into a “game” with this free printable that I made for my readers! I LOVE checking items off my to-do list throughout the day. Print out this free weekly chart and stick it in your daily planner. Or frame this daily one & use it like a mini dry erase chart. You can buy a magnetic frame like I did or you can use any frame with a clear plastic or glass front. I like the magnetic one because I can put it on my fridge or my filing cabinet at work! Most doctors recommend drinking 8 8 oz glasses of water a day & the Dasani Sparkling waters are 12 oz each. Thats a check & a half!



Do you have any tips to stay hydrated? Let me know in the comments below!


Wedding Diet: How to Make Zoodles

posted in: Home, Recipes | 1

wedding diet zoodles


Zoodles (zucchini noodles) were my saving grace when I decided to try Whole 30 last November. Zoodles are my favorite & easiest pasta replacement. I have cooked spaghetti squash several times but I always end up with SO much left over (and it takes like an hour to prepare). Since I usually cook for one (or two when J is in town), zoodles are the easiest and tastiest pasta substitute.

So, how do you make zoodles? Well before you invest in an expensive tool, I would suggest buying a small handheld spiralizer- that way you’ll know if you’ll actually use it.  This is the one that I got off amazon. Under $10 with Prime. It comes with a cleaning brush and is super easy to use. I registered for a more expensive option for our wedding registry because I use this little one so much.


Wedding Diet Zoodles

Always wash your zucc before spiralizing. Just put one end into the tool and start twisting. You’ll end up with beautiful noodles!

Zoodles Wedding Diet. 3

Zoodles Wedding Diet 1

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You can see above that the spiralizer turns the zoodles into thin ribbon-like strands.

Zoodles Wedding Diet. 7

The spiralizer cuts around the core so you don’t get many seeds in your zoodles. The strands come out really long so I suggest cutting the pile into 4ths (like a pizza) to make eating a little bit easier.

Now to get to the meal prepping part of the post. Half a zucc is the perfect portion size for me. This week, I made a meat sauce with a garden tomato sauce & some ground turkey meat.

Zoodles Wedding Diet. 10

This meal comes out to be a little under 300 calories per serving and is the perfect lunch or dinner. If I take this to work, then I would put a little water into the side with the zoodles (not a lot but enough to steam them). I would also probably put the zoodles in a baggy to cook the meat sauce longer than the zoodles. I like my zoodles a little crunchy. I prepared these for dinners this week so I’ll dump the whole thing into a skillet together (maybe with a little olive oil) and cook it until the meat is heated all the way.

Zoodles Wedding Diet. 8

Zoodles don’t take long to cook, which is why I love them. Just warm a little olive oil & add some salt & pepper. I really only cook the zoodles until they’re warm. If you cook them too long (or with too much olive oil), they will become soggy- which won’t taste pasta-like. I like to make them with a meat sauce or with chicken. You could cut the zoodles up into tiny pieces to mimic rice & add it to a stir fry. It’s so simple & easy to make that you can make a side of zoodles for yourself and regular pasta for your family members / guests who are pickier eaters (though once they try zoodles, they may never go back to pasta!)

Do you like zoodles? What is your favorite zoodle recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Ciao for now!


Healthy Meal Prepping & Life Hacks- With Centrum Vitamints

posted in: Home, Lifestyle, Recipes, Wedding | 8


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CentrumFunFlavors #CollectiveBias

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Happy Monday!

Today I am going to talk about something that I try to do every Sunday afternoon: healthy lunch prep. As a busy 20-something, I try to do all my shopping and prepping in one day. Every Sunday afternoon, I head to my local Walmart and stock up on groceries (and Centrum Raspberry Vitamints). I usually only prepare 4 lunches for the week because I always end up doing something else for lunch at least one day. This week, I’m going to show you my favorite recipe- a mexican salad.


4 Chicken Tenders sauteed

Salsa (fresh, I get the hot flavor)

Guacamole (I used 100 calorie guac packs)

Black Beans (strained & rinsed with 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar added)

1 Lime 

1 Bag of Romaine Hearts 

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First I cook the chicken in a little olive oil, himalayan pink salt, & fresh ground pepper on the stove. While the chicken is cooking, I strain a can of black beans and put them in a bowl with some red wine vinegar.

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I cut each tender into bite sized pieces. The first thing that I add to my lunch containers are the black beans. I spoon the beans into the small side of the container until they are equally distributed. Then I lay approximately 1 cut up tender on top of the beans.

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As you see above, the small side of the container is for the protein / “hot” items and the large side is for veggies / “cold” items. Easy lifehack: put the lettuce into a baggie so that it’s easy to take out while you heat up the hot items in the microwave. I put salsa into a small container and use that as the “dressing” on the salad. I use fresh salsa because it saves me from having to cut up all those vegetables but it adds spice & fresh veggies!

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I always make sure to include some sort of snack (usually a piece of fruit) and my Centrum Raspberry Vitamints! While I’m heating up the beans & chicken in the microwave (high for 45 seconds). I take my Raspberry Vitamints! It gives me something to do while my food is in the microwave and the routine keeps me from forgetting to take my vitamins. I just have to be careful to only eat 2- they’re just so delicious. I love the new raspberry flavor, it’s sweet but refreshing at the same time. Plus, I know that I’m getting all the health benefits from a multi-vitamin. I highly recommend Centrum’s Multigummies too! They taste just like fruit snacks.*

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After I heat the hot portion in the microwave, then I put the lettuce into the large side of the container and spoon the hot beans & chicken over the lettuce, I top with guac, salsa, & a squeeze of lime. Not only does meal prepping help me not over-eat (all about portion control) (#weddingdiet), but it helps me save money too. ‘Cause someone’s gotta pay for our honeymoon, right? 😉 I enjoy staying healthy with simple solutions like meal prepping & Centrum Gummies & Vitamints.

PS: Make sure that you pack a napkin & fork! And here are some coupons so you don’t forget your Vitamints!

What helps you save time during the week? Do you meal prep?

Ciao for now!


*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Wedding Diet & Easy Healthy Recipes

Meal Planning for Two

posted in: Home, Recipes | 2

My new apartment’s location makes it easy for both Jordan and I to eat lunch at home and I cook dinner for us most nights as well. Since we have started eating home more than we ever have before, I started meal planning!

We have also started budgeting. Before we get married next year, we have a list of books that we want to read together. At the top of the list is Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover“. I’ll go into more detail about budgeting after a few more paychecks, but so far it’s been pretty eye opening and surprisingly, fun.

Sunday is my grocery shopping day. I usually end up making a few more runs to the store during the week because we ran out of creamer or I forgot an important ingredient to a recipe, but I try to do the bulk of my shopping at one time. On Sundays I know Jordan is available to help carry groceries from the car. Juggling market bags can be tricky alone.

Here are some tricks I’ve learned that make my meal planning and grocery trips successful.

1. Make a list

I know this is grocery shopping 101. But after you’ve made a certain dish 20+ times and you have the recipe memorized, it’s easy to not write down every ingredient. Do it anyway. Last week, I forgot to buy breadcrumbs for a recipe with only 4 ingredients. Since I am trying to take one trip a week, I am buying ingredients for several recipes at a time. Write everything down because when you’re going through a list in your head, you may forget breadcrumbs.

2. Bring your own bags

Not only will you be able to carry more in each bag, which is helpful when you live in an apartment and need to take everything in one trip, but it’s better for the environment. It may inspire the lady behind you in line to bring her own on her next trip.

Plus, there are some really cute market bags…


3. Double dip ingredients

I try to make recipes with overlapping ingredients. Jordan and I don’t particularly like eating leftovers and since I am only cooking for two, I usually have extra portions of ingredients (you can’t buy half an onion). The ingredients that are most important to overlap are the produce and the meat (because they’ll spoil). I cook with a lot of citrus flavors so I always try to keep fresh lemons and limes, I also keep simple ingredients to make a delicious lemon tea (recipe here) in case the lemons start to look a little… ripe. I try to plan at least three meals during the week with the same meat. This allows me to save money and buy in bulk. If I know that one recipe that I’m making calls for fresh produce (like onions) then I’ll work onions into another meal, even if it’s just on the salad.

4. Plan for nights out

I usually only plan 4 dinners a week. We eat with Jordan’s family at his grandmother’s house on Sunday nights, our friends want to grab beers and wings at least one night a week, and Jordan and I try to go on one date a week.

5. Lunch doesn’t have to be leftovers

Don’t make lunch an after thought. Make tacos! Stock up on frozen pizzas (Jordan’s favorite)! Sometimes I’ll cook extra chicken at night and shred it for chicken salad the next day. Lunch is a great way to repurpose ingredients (like that onion I was talking about earlier) so they don’t go to waste.

Do you have any meal planning tips? I’d love to hear them.

Ciao for now!


Holiday Hostess Gifts

posted in: Decor, Design, Home | 8

I can hear the sleigh bells ringing, it is officially Christmas time! I will confess that I have been listening to Christmas music for about a week now. One of my favorite things about Christmas time is seeing family and friends at holiday parties. Here are some tips for picking up great hostess gifts:

1. Plan ahead!

If you know that you have a lot of social engagements this season, then go ahead and stock up on gifts! My favorite place to buy hostess gifts is HomeGoods. You can buy unique and expensive looking items on the cheap. They have a GREAT holiday section (don’t forget to check clearance too). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten about a hostess gift and ended up running to Walgreens to buy a gift plus $7 wrapping paper, $2 scissors, $2 tape, and a $2 bow. That’s about $15 that I had to pay because I waited till the last minute!

2. You don’t have to spend a fortune!

A great hostess gift can be purchased for $5-$15. Buying the wrapping supplies in bulk will save a lot of money too. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your gift wrapping! Instead of buying bags of holiday bows, I buy seasonal ribbon and a tiny box of ornaments and tie an ornament onto each gift. It makes the gift feel more expensive and the receiver can actually use the ornament rather than just throwing away the plastic bow.

2. Make it personal!

Usually my favorite hostess gifts are on theme with the holiday party or are edible. Soaps and candles are safe go-tos but you can easily make your gift stand out by making it a little bit more personal.

For a host or hostess that loves cooking and/ or baking:

Christmas Apron

Seasonal apron


Seasonal cookie cutter

For a host or hostess that has a signature drink / cocktail:



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Seasonal glasses

For a host or hostess that is always on his/her phone:


Portable charger

For a host or hostess that loves entertaining:


Seasonal napkin holders


Seasonal platter/ candy bowl

Have you started hostess gift shopping? How do you prepare for the holidays?

Ciao For Now!


Holiday Tea: How to make your home smell amazing during the holidays!

posted in: Home, Recipes | 1

Today, I am sharing a great recipe that not only smells and tastes amazing but is an appetite suppressant, which I could definitely use during the holiday season. Lemon and cinnamon are naturally appetite suppressants and they are two of the three ingredients for this holiday treat. I love that I can drink this tea without any sweetener.


4 packets of spiced apple tea (I get caffeine free tea because I drink way too much coffee during the day to add more to my diet.)
3 lemons
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cups of water

Here are the brands that I use (available from Publix):




Slice the lemons in half while the water is boiling on the stove.


Once the water is boiled, add the 4 packets and cinnamon stick.


Puncture the lemon halves with a fork.


Squeeze the lemons into the boiling tea (turn heat down so you don’t burn yourself).


Take the bags and sticks out of the pot. (You may also have to retrieve some of the lemon seeds)


Serve with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!

Jordan loves it when I make this tea because of how it makes my apartment smell.

Ciao for now!


Breaking-Up with My Cable Company

posted in: Home | 2

One of the benefits of living in Northshore, Chattanooga is that my wifi downloads one gigabit per second. (You can read more about it here.) And since my wifi is included in my rent. I decided to forgo cable. I have only been cable-less for a week, but I wanted to share my experience thus far.

Must-have streaming devices:

1. Apple TV ($69-$149)

I have an iPhone, Macbook Pro, and Mini iPad so naturally, I bought an Apple TV to stream my favorite shows and movies.

2. Chromecast ($35)

The main downside of the Apple Tv is the financial investment. I put my Apple TV in the living area and then the Chromecast in my bedroom. Also, with Chromecast, you can stream movies and shows from Googleplay. Googleplay has much more reasonable prices than iTunes.

Must-have subscription services:

1. Hulu

As someone who has the luxury to work from home, I usually have the TV on in the background while I am working. Luckily, Food Network and HGTV have plenty of shows available for streaming. I have recently become addicted to “Master Chef Junior”. The kids are so polite and sweet to each other… I wish adults would behave like the junior chefs.

Hulu is also great because they have new episodes of my favorite shows available to stream the day after the episode airs (looking at your shows, Shonda Rhimes). Also, Hulu now has exclusive rights to “The Mindy Project”.

2. Netflix

Netflix was created for binge-watching. Seasons upon seasons and tons of great movies. Plus it gives you access to Netflix original series (BTW, if you have Netflix, you need to watch “Master of None” ASAP).

3. HBO Now

Because I need Game of Thrones! HBO Now also has a great movie selection and access to all past HBO shows.

Some downsides of not having live TV:

1. Sports

In the south, watching College Football is almost as important as attending church. Luckily, I live within walking distance of restaurants that have the Tennessee game playing most Saturdays. My main issue with not being able to watch the game at home is that I love to make tailgating snacks. I guess I will be making them to-go for the rest of this season.

2. Debates

Having working on a national campaign while in college, I am a political news junkie. I can read headlines and stream clips but not being able to watch the debates in real time has been challenging for me. Major FOMO (fear of missing out).

Final thoughts….

Not having cable has made me more aware of the TV shows that I consume. Even though I mainly have shows stream in the background, I find that I am much more intentional with what I watch because I  have to pick each show rather than just picking a channel.

Are you thinking of dropping your cable company? Let me know your thoughts!

Ciao for now!


Rockin’ the Sapphire: Reasons to Choose a Gemstone Engagement Ring

posted in: Decor, Design | 3


When Jordan and I first started looking at rings, I would have never guessed that I would end up with a gemstone engagement ring. I always pictured myself wearing a cushion cut diamond with a halo in white gold. Maybe I spent too much time on Pinterest or maybe I watched too many episodes of the Bachelor / Bachelorette.



After looking at many new diamond rings, I decided that I wanted an antique. This is when I started playing with the idea of a gemstone ring. There were so many beautiful rings available within our budget!

Here are some of the deciding factors that led me to ask Jordan to buy a gemstone ring for our engagement:

1. More Bang for Your Buck

Just like all vintage and estate jewelry, you can definitely get your money’s worth. Did you know that new diamonds are marked up 100%-200%? You can read more about that here.

2. It’s Classic

Gemstone engagement rings have been around longer than diamond engagement rings. Some recent examples of gemstone engagement rings include:

Jackie O with her gorgeous art deco ring with an emerald.



Late Princess Diana wore and, now, Princess Kate wears this sapphire engagement ring.



Princess Fergie had a ruby engagement ring.



3. It’s Unique

I have always had my own sense of style. I get more compliments about my ring because it is not the “traditional” looking engagement ring. Some people say “Oh, your ring looks like Princess Kate’s!”  I will gladly accept being compared to Princess Kate and Princess Diana any day of the week, but my ring is actually older than Princess Kate’s ring… by 70 years. So who copied who? 😉

4. Ultimate Birthstone Jewelry

Can’t decide on a gemstone? What about your birthstone? I chose sapphire not only because my favorite color is blue but mainly because I was born in September. I’ve always loved my birthstone.

5. No Upgrade Needed

I find it so sad when girls get engaged and then tell me that they’ll “upgrade” in 5 years. Why not get a ring that you LOVE when you get engaged? I get it, budgets can be tight. But I would much rather opt for a gemstone ring than a diamond ring that is waiting to be replaced.

6. Wearable Art

I’m not trying to “knock” diamonds. There are some really gorgeous new diamond rings available. My vintage ring was made in Moscow (before the Soviet Union), I am not sure who first owned my ring (I can pretend  it was Anastasia) but I know there must be a wonderful story behind it. The history combined with the level of detail and craftsmanship makes me feel like I am wearing art.

7. You can always get a diamond!

Several people have asked me, “Do you think you’ll regret not getting a diamond in a few years?” No way. Later down the road, I may decide to get a diamond ring in addition to my sapphire ring. I can always wear this ring on one hand and a diamond on the other.

My final advice is to get a ring that you love. A diamond just didn’t seem right for my engagement ring. I still admire and love many diamond rings. Don’t limit yourself to what you see on the Bachelor. And most importantly, don’t pressure your fiance to spend more than he has, just to get the carat diamond that you desire.

Get a ring that you love and that matches your personal style, you won’t regret it.

My ring:


Ciao for now!


Merging Styles

posted in: Decor, Design | 2

This week, I finally got the keys to my new apartment. While in college, I never had money to decorate my apartment like I wanted. My major furniture purchases in college were a futon, a dining room table and chairs (which were used more for party games than for actually eating dinner), and two red sofas from some girl on Facebook who was moving across country. These pieces were mixed with my roommates’ furniture and some childhood furniture that my mom let me use.

Now that I have my own apartment, I am getting to actually buy items that I like and that reflect my taste rather than whatever is cheapest and necessary. Jordan and I are getting married next fall so my apartment is the last “girl-only” place I will be living. Since the furniture/ decorations I am purchasing will be in Jordan’s and my first home, I have been taking Jordan’s taste into consideration for every major purchase.

Jordan’s style:

I would categorize Jordan’s style as a mix of industrial and mid-century modern. He traveled to Sweden and Denmark over the summer so he has recently become obsessed with Scandinavian design. (I’m ok with this because I am 1/4th Swedish).








My style:

I would categorize my style as a mix between art deco, traditional, and coastal. I love everything from the 20s, if I could afford to decorate my house like Gatsby’s, then I would. Having family in Miami, I have always been attracted to sea & palm prints. My favorite colors are gold, white, and navy.








Our styles overlap in some ways but in other ways, they clash. My apartment is very much my style (I’m not giving up pink just yet) but I have made sure that all of the furniture will flow nicely with his when we get married.

I can’t wait to post pictures of my apartment once it is completely decorated. I will also be sharing ways that we have “compromised” or worked around our different tastes when purchasing bigger ticketed items.

Do you and your significant other have different tastes when it come to home decor? How have you worked around that while decorating? I would love to hear other’s thoughts and advice!

Ciao for now!


My Favorite Salad

posted in: Fashion, Recipes, Travel | 0

Boots: Macy’s [similar]

During our trip out west, Jordan and I stopped in Scottsdale, Arizona. The night before stopping in Scottsdale, we stayed in El Paso (I hope to never go back). I’m not sure if Scottsdale was ACTUALLY as wonderful as I remember, or if El Paso was so horrible that I remember Scottsdale being better than it was. Whatever the reason, we fell in love with Scottsdale. 

We were hungry by the time we got into town so we stopped for dinner at Cowboy Ciao. Jordan ordered mushroom stew and I decided I wanted a salad. I usually like chopped salads and there was on one the menu, so I ordered it. The description read as follows: 
Stetson Chopped Salad: “I loved that chopped salad so much that I put it on my screensaver!” – Actual Guest Quote

This is what the salad looked like: 

It was amazing. So amazing that I found the recipe online and made it at home. It wasn’t quite as good as the in restaurant experience but it satisfied my taste buds just fine. 

Here is the recipe: 

  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) Israeli (pearl) couscous, cooked
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup (1 oz) super-sweet dried corn
  • 1/2 cup (2oz) arugula, chopped
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, diced
  • 1/2 oz asiago cheese, crumbled **
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 oz) toasted pepitas **
  • 1/4 cup dried black currants**
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 cup aioli (Note: If you cannot find commercially prepared aioli and don`t want to make your own, you can substitute mayonnaise, or use 1 cup olive oil, drizzled in very slowly with motor running so the mixture emulsifies. It should thicken further with refrigeration.
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste 

  • 1
    In a shallow bowl, assemble the salad ingredients in rows. Start with tomatoes or arugula at one end; push previous row back with one hand as you place and line up the next ingredient with the other hand.
  • 2
    **Combine these ingredients beforehand and use as one row. All are available at Trader Joe’s. 
Add first three ingredients to food processor and blend thoroughly. With motor running, pour in buttermilk. Add remaining ingredients to combine. If using prepared pesto, taste before adding additional salt. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Source:Cowboy Ciao Restaurant – Scottsdale, AZ

Shirt: Old Navy [exact]
Shorts: Nordstrom [similar]
Boots:Macy’s [similar]
Purse: Longchamp [exact]

This was taken at the resort at the bottom of Camelback Mountain. 
We will definitely be making a return trip to Scottsdale, even if for no reason other than to order the Stetson Salad!

Ciao for now!