Liebster Award: Sharing Time!

Today’s post is all about sharing…sharing things about myself and sharing the love to others! I am honored to be nominated for a Liebster Award by Lady from Hey Lady! (check out her blog! It’s awesome!!) The Liebster Award was created to help bloggers spread the love, encouraging a supportive blogging community.

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So here’s the deal…I have been given 11 questions to answer, have nominated 11 bloggers (see the list below) who I admire, and have given them 11 new questions to answer.

The Rules:

  • You have to link back to the person that nominated you.
  • You must answer all 11 questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
  • After completing these questions you must nominate 11 bloggers with under 200 followers and give them 11 questions of your choice.
  • You must not nominate the person who nominated you.
  • You must let your nominees know that they have been nominated and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

Sharing time! Learn a little about me…

1. What are the 3 places you’d like to visit next?

My family’s house in Pittsburgh. We just moved and I have only spent a few days in our new house. Plus, I would really just love to spend some quality time with the fam.

Vegas to see the goddess herself…Britney Spears…perform. I have a crazy obsession with Britney Spears.

Europe! Destination TBA. I plan to study abroad in Europe this Spring and am beyond excited to experience a different culture and explore a new place for a few months.

2. Which Instagram accounts are you obsessed with?

Ah, too many to name! I love @littleblondebook. Taylor Morgan is the cutest and most stylish human ever. I’m also obsessed with @thebalancedblonde because her food pics are heavenly and she provides a lot of great inspiration to live a healthy, balanced life. My favorite instagrammer is probably my cousin, Nichole Ciotti (@nicholeciotti). She is a superstar blogger with insanely awesome instas to match.

3. If you could wear one type of footwear for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Converse. I have a pair in almost every color, and they make me feel so comfortable and happy 🙂

4. What wouldn’t you want to be caught dead wearing?

Honestly, I don’t know. These days, there are so many different styles and ways to dress, and I am open to trying many of them! I’m not sure if I can say for certain there is one thing I will never ever wear.

5. What is your favorite city in the world and why?

I promise this is the last of my vague answers! But the truth is, I haven’t traveled enough and experienced enough cities to be able to choose a favorite. One of my goals of my twenties is to travel, so hopefully in a few years, I will be able to come up with an answer to this question. Hopefully after studying abroad in the spring, I will have a better idea of which cities in the world are my favorite!

6. What’s the last book you read and what did you like about it?

I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin this summer. I love how the author looks at happiness as a choice which is an attitude I am really trying to take on myself. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to bring more happiness in his/her life (who doesn’t?)

7. What’s your perfect weekend outfit?

As the seasons transition, a perfect weekend outfit would be a cute pair of shorts with a pretty floral top and a light sweater. I am smiling just thinking about it!

8. If you could buy any watch in the world, what would it be?

Actually, I’m obsessed with the watch I currently have. It’s a Michael Kors watch with a tortoise shell band and rose gold accents. It was my gift to myself last summer after spending the season working, and I’m still in love with it

9. What did you want to be when you were younger and what do you do now? Do they match?

I have always wanted to be a singer. Currently, I am a full-time student, but I have an album on iTunes, am always writing new music, and playing gigs in my local area! Check out my Facebook page for more info on my music career(shameless plug, hehe 🙂 )

10. What’s your favorite kind of flower?

I really love Marigolds because not only are they beautiful, but they are also a natural pesticide which means they help the other things around them grow and be beautiful and healthy. I also am a big fan of Peonies because they are easily one of the prettiest things to look at (as you can see from this post, peonies are the wallpaper of my Mac!)

11. What’s your most favorite item of clothing in your closet? It could be an accessory too!

The denim vest I wore in this post. I would literally wear it every single day of my life if I could.

 

My Nominees:

Now it’s time to share the love! Here are 11 blogs that I really love and think deserve some recognition!

1. Miss Winnie and a Mini Skirt

2. Searching for a Brighter Future

3. Thrifty Shopper Fashion

4. Joy and Serenity

5. Past, Present, Perfect Day

6. The Traveling Yoyo

7. Too Grunge for Glamour

8. Curious Giraffe

9. Inner Beauty Outshines

10. Starring Sue

11. A Writer’s Mind

 

Here are your questions to answer!

1. If you could be a member of any TV sitcom family, which one would it be?

2. What is your favorite song to sing in the shower?

3. Who was your role model as a child?

4. If you could be the personal assistant to anyone in the world, who would it be?

5. How do you get your news/current events?

6. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned in the past week?

7. What is your favorite “guilty pleasure” show or movie?

8. Who is someone you find inspiring?

9. What is a “little thing” that makes you happy?

10. If you could eat only one food for an entire year, what would it be?

11. You are told right now that tomorrow you have the freedom and ability to go anywhere or do anything for the entire day. What does that day look like?

Have fun answering these questions! I am looking forward to reading your responses!

Organization Essentials

It’s that time of year again for all my fellow students out there: the school year is beginning! I have always been a lover of learning, so the beginning of the school year is an exciting time for me. This year, my goal is to be totally organized before classes begin so it will be much easier to maintain the organization (and my sanity!) throughout the semester. I learned a few things during my first two years in college about organization (but this knowledge reaches far past the boundaries of college campuses!).

1. Less is more

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Living in a shoebox college dorm room (or any small place) often makes us feel the need to fill any empty space with our crap possessions, but I have learned that sometimes I get a little too carried away with maximizing space, especially on my desk. A desk should be an open area, welcoming textbooks, folders, laptops, and lots of notes. If a desk is already filled to the gills, doing work on it does not look appealing (or possible). It may be tempting to fill that empty area, but concentrate on only filling it only with what you need. On my desk, I found that the only things I really need are a pencil/pen holder, a cute bowl filled with paper clips and rubber bands, a stapler, and post-it notes. By only filling your desk with the essentials, you leave space open for work to be done, clutter-free!

2. If you’ve got it, flaunt it

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I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I have what seems like a million pieces of jewelry that I never wear. It’s not that I don’t like them, but when I’m getting ready in the morning, it’s easy to reach for the handful of pieces I always wear instead of searching through drawers of tangled jewelry (can I get an Amen?). This is why I decided to display my jewelry in these super cute, DIY jewelry holders. All you need to make these is a picture frame and a pretty print! Now, I can actually see all of my jewelry options and they are so much easier to access!

3. Be Logical

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It took me two years in college to learn that bookshelves are for books (how much am I paying to go here?). For the past two years, I have been filling the bookshelf above my desk with decorations, picture frames, and fun mementos. These things are great, but then where do my books go?…on my desk, taking up valuable work room. I finally have decided to be logical and put my books where they rightfully belong. I bought a cute bookend from HomeGoods to add a little decoration to the shelf and to keep my books from tumbling down.

4. The VIP Section

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This folder is for Very Important Papers only. It is crucial to have a go-to place for all VIPs so you can put them away (instead of allowing them to clutter up your desk and room) and so you know exactly where to find them when you need them. This expanding folder from Target is perfect for my VIPs because it has 13 pockets, which is plenty to organize my busy little life.

 

What are your organization tips?

Taco Tuesday: The Healthy Way

Taco night was my favorite as a kid. I loved coming to dinner with an empty taco shell on my plate and a table full of goodies to stuff it with (it was like an art project you could eat!!). Of course, that was before the other members of my family became vegans so beef and cheese were always staples on the table.

Now, I still enjoy taco nights, but I do it a little differently than I used to. The ingredients may be healthier, but the fun (and the mess) of eating a taco is still the same. Because if you don’t have salsa all over your hands and face, are you actually eating a taco??

(Shout out to my awesome friend, Dylan, for inspiring this recipe!)

 

Lettuce Tacos (makes a lot of tacos 😉 )

INGREDIENTS

Salsa:

¾ can black beans

¾ can kidney beans

1 can corn

2 Roma Tomatoes, diced

1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pepper & other spices to taste!

 

1 Pack Extra Firm Tofu, sautéed

1 Bell Pepper, sautéed

½ Onion, sautéed

Romaine Lettuce (for shell)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients for salsa in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes (until warm)
  2. Sauté Tofu (Tip: To make really good tofu, dry it, cut it into slabs, sauté in olive oil on high until golden brown, flip, and remove from pan when other side is golden brown)
  3. Sauté pepper and onion
  4. Fill the lettuce shell with your homemade salsa, tofu, peppers, and onions and enjoy just like a traditional taco!! (Don’t forget the napkins!)

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 How do you do Taco Tuesday? Share your favorite taco recipes in the comment section below!

 

According to Candace Ray Launch Party!

Introducing (drum roll, please)… According to Candace Ray, an online magazine where you can find the latest in music and entertainment, fashion and beauty, health and fitness, technology, and more! I am honored to be a contributing writer for the Health and Music sections of the magazine (check out my articles here).

According to Candace Ray kicked off with a launch party last night in Philadelphia. The room was buzzing with excitement as writers, supporters, vendors, and friends gathered to celebrate the official launch of the magazine; it was a huge success. I had the privilege of taking over the magazine’s Instagram account for the evening so obviously, I had a blast (I’m an Insta-holic, what can I say?).

I am really excited to see where this magazine will go! With such a dedicated and talented staff and such a large group of supporters, the possibilities are endless!

Be sure to check out According to Candace Ray and let me know what you think! You can also follow the magazine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Staff Selfies 🙂

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The dessert spread was on point

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Oh! Look who it is!

 Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Tribal + Lace

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Confession: I have major nice weather FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). When the weather is beautiful, I find it nearly impossible to stay indoors. I love getting out there and finding new areas to explore! I am a Villanova Wildcat through and through (shout out to the Nova Nation!), but on a lovely summer day, my boyfriend and I decided to walk around the campus of a neighboring liberal arts college. Turns out we weren’t the only ones taking a tour of campus that day…we met some feathered friends along the way 🙂

The second I put this outfit on, it became one of my favorite looks of the summer. Why hadn’t I thought of pairing tribal patterns and lace before?! The combination of the girly feel of lace and the artsy touch of a tribal pattern is a great way to express my personal style, which definitely does not fit into just one box.

What are your favorite “out-of-the-box” pairings? Share them with me in the comment section below!

Lace Top (similar)/Tribal Skirt (similar)/Sandals (similar)/Sunnies (similar)/Michael Kors Watch

It’s a “HIIT:” Interval Training

Ask me how I am, and there’s a good chance my answer will include busy. With family, friends, school, work, and exciting projects and adventures, there is so much going on to keep us busy; sometimes it’s hard to even find a second to breathe, let alone, work out! But exercise is such an important part of our lives and we need to make time for it! I think a lot of people are under the impression that a workout has to be long in order to be beneficial. However, this is not always true, especially in the case of high-intensity interval training.

High-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) is perfect for those of us who can only find 20-30 minutes a day to workout. These workouts are short, efficient, and yield amazing results. To learn more about the many benefits of HIIT, check out my article on According to Candace Ray!

I’ve been doing HIIT for most of my cardio workouts lately, and have come up with a couple of routines (listed below) that really make me break a sweat! I use the  Interval Timer app to program the routines into my phone before I “HIIT” the ground running 😉

Routine #1:

Warm-Up: Jog for 3 minutes

Interval Cycle: (3 sets)

  • Jog for 1 minute & 30 seconds
  • Sprint for 30 seconds

Recover: Jog for 2 minutes

Interval Cycle: (2 sets)

Cool-Down: Jog for 3 minutes

Routine #2:

Warm-Up: Jog for 4 minutes

Quick Interval:

  • Jog for 30 seconds
  • Sprint for 30 seconds

Recover: Jog for 2 minutes

Pyramid Cycle:

  • Jog for 30 seconds, Sprint for 30 seconds
  • Jog for 1 minute, Sprint for 1 minute
  • Jog for 2 minutes, Run as fast as you can! for 2 minutes
  • Jog for 1 minute, Sprint for 1 minute
  • Jog for 30 seconds, Sprint for 30 seconds

Recover: Jog for 4 minutes

Quick Interval:

  • Jog for 30 seconds
  • Sprint for 30 seconds

Cool-Down: Jog for 2 minutes

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Photo Cred: weheartit.com

I’d love to try out your favorite HIIT routines! Share them in the comment section below!

Weekend Wear: Denim + Stripes

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I traveled back to my hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (yes…where the Amish live) last night for a cookout at my grandparent’s house. Unfortunately, a bit of heavy rain kept us from enjoying our dinner on the deck, but it did not stop us from a night of incredible food, fun games, and lots of laughs! This tee from Banana Republic (similar) caught my eye right away (as I am a lover of all things stripes), and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. It’s so cozy that I almost wore it to bed, and its loose fit allowed me to comfortably have seconds of my Gram’s amazing cooking. A shirt perfect for sleeping and eating?…I’ll take one in every color, please! 🙂

What are you wearing this weekend? Share your outfit of the weekend in the comment section below!