Food & Drink | Food Journal

What Have I Been Eating Lately?

Busy schedules and hectic lifestyles usually take a toll on our diet and I’ll be the first to admit that I usually go for the quickest, easiest options like deli sandwiches and pastries. However, with my graduation coming up in May and summer following right after, I have been doing my best to be a little more conscious of my meal choices.

I have tried a couple meal replacement shakes in the past like Herbalife and Slimfast, but lately I’ve been using Nature’s Bounty Complete Protein & Vitamin Shake Mix and I’m loving it. Since I’ve started incorporating high protein breakfast smoothies into my diet, I’ve noticed that I won’t get hungry or have cravings for about 3-4 hours. My past experiences with protein shakes are less than recommendable because I never seem to  like the flavors and I would always get a chalky, pasty after taste. This Nature’s Bounty Shake Mix vanilla flavor combines well with almond, coconut or cashew milk and I sometimes even add bananas, berries, cacao powder, cinnamon, nutmeg  or my favorite peanut butter powder for added nutrients and flavor to create the ultimate breakfast SMOOTHie.

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DSC_0470It’s important for me to always have easy grab and go snack options available to take to school because this helps me avoid crazy random binges at the snack machine. I prefer to stick to tropical fruits like bananas, oranges, grapefruits and pineapples, but I’ll occasionally throw in a few apples and grapes for variety.dsc_0328.jpgThis is what a quick trip to the grocery store looks like for me, and these snacks usually lasts about 3-5 days. I don’t usually have heavy meals during the day, especially when I’m at school because after a big meal, I tend to get the itis. Having a quick salad or fruits and a glass of milk or a smoothie helps me to avoid that groggy fatigued feeling after eating. I have also grown to enjoy baby carrots and mini cukes with a nice low-fat spinach dip or roasted red pepper hummus, it’s a great alternative to chips and dip. dsc_0286.jpgApart from my amazing breakfast smoothies and fruit and veggie snacks, I also do my best to have healthy dinner options. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I do indulge in the not so healthy options but I’ve been doing my best to keep up a strict regimen. This past week I’ve created a little picture journal of my dinner options especially for this blog.

Chicken & Cottage SaladDSC_0433.JPGMini Bagel and Chipotle Chicken n’ Roasted Tomatoes with a Sauteed Mushroom SaladDSC_0443.JPGHam Egg n’ Cheese Muffin  and Shamrock ShakeDSC_0457.JPGBaked Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes n’ Mushrooms and Apple n’ Raisin SalsaDSC_0451.JPGVegan Cream of Broccoli SoupDSC_0469.JPGGrilled Chicken with Broccoli and CornDSC_0461.JPGAs you can see I pretty much stick to the basics and I like keeping it simple. I hope you enjoyed this little food journal post this week. 

 

Food & Drink | Black Bean Salsa

I was so intrigued by this black bean salsa after seeing one of my co workers teaching it to her Food Explorers class. It was fun, easy and required very little prep time! Not to mention it was so pretty to look at. I have been trying more meatless and raw meals lately so this recipe was a great way to stick to my new diet and still get my protein from the black beans, vitamin C and fiber from the red bell peppers and corn and vitamin A from the cilantro. 

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Black Bean Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 stalks cilantro
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 red onion (optional)

I chose to omit the red onion this time because I simply do not enjoy the taste of raw onions, however they are a great source of vitamin C, also, onions have been proven to  reduce inflammation and assist in regulating blood sugar levels. I am also not really a big fan of the taste of raw bell peppers but I just adored the addition of the bright pop of color, and the prettier my food looks, the more I want to eat it. My favorite ingredient in this recipe was the fresh cilantro which added a crisp, rich taste that paired well with the freshness of the lemon juice.

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This salsa is so versatile, it can be enjoyed in so many ways. Use this black bean salsa as a topping on tacos, burritos, rice, quinoa or on your favorite salad. You can even enjoy it over a baked potato, with some veggie sour cream, but my favorite way to eat this amazing salsa is with some crispy, lightly salted tortilla chips! 

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Bon appétit!

Skin Care | Winter Routine

PicsArt_01-15-10.21.20I love discovering new skin care tips and ideas so it’s my pleasure to be sharing my affordable winter skin care routine this week in collaboration with one of my favorite beauty bloggers Emily Burns. Her blog emilyburnsmua features make up tips, reviews and tutorials where she inspires her followers’ make up techniques and creativity.

Collab Feature | Emily Burns

Although most of us look forward to the winter season for enjoying the holidays with family and friends and playing in the fluffy snow, for some of us it also means dry, itchy skin, cracked lips and ashy elbows and knees. The crisp winter cold can be so harsh on our skin, that we lose moisture at a much faster rate, leading to the weakening of the protective top layer. It is very important that we take extra care of our skin throughout these cold winter months focusing on ways to help keep our skin moist and protected.

MiraBelle’s Winter Skin Care Routine

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1. St. Ives Apricot Scrub $5.49USD

I absolutely love apricot scrubs. As a kid, I remember seeing my mom using St. Ives Apricot Scrub as part of her night time skin care routine, I guess the apricot doesn’t fall too far from the tree. This blemish control oil free scrub is a great way to exfoliate away dead skin, make up and dirt giving me a deep clean leaving my skin feeling fresh and smooth. This scrub helps treat and prevent my acne and blemishes and it has  also  helped minimize the appearance of pores on my cheeks and nose leaving my skin looking smoother and clearer over time.

2. Proactiv Revitalizing Toner $24.99USD

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be mixing products, but this is one of the few toners that has worked well with my skin. I have tried Neutrogena, Olay and Clean and Clear toners in the past however they didn’t do much for me. After my first 6 weeks of using this proactiv toner I noticed a significant difference in the evenness of my skin and complexion. Fortunately for me, during the winter I rarely break out so I prefer to use toner no more than twice a week to avoid dryness and irritation. On the other hand, during the summer months I would break out almost every day so I would ultimately use it every day as well. 

3. St. Ives Collagen Elastin Moisturizer $5.49USD

Oh the woes of combination skin! During the summer my skin would mostly be very oily, especially in my T-zone, but in the winter time, it’s the complete opposite, my T-zone can get very dry and itchy if I don’t moisturize well. I have discovered that although collagen moisturizers are mostly used to help combat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it’s also a great way to add suppleness and moisture to cracked and dried out winter skin. 

4. Aloe Vera Vaseline $1.49USD

One of my biggest winter skin problems is having dry, chapped and peeling lips. It’s so unattractive and uncomfortable. The top most layer of our skin is called the stratum corneum,  this layer of skin is far thinner on our lips than it is anywhere else on our body. Our lips also don’t have any sebaceous glands to keep our skin stay moisturized, so the only source of moisture is saliva. Thank goodness for the wonders of Vaseline! Any type of petroleum jelly can be used as a great moisturizer to help soothe and protect our precious stratum corneum. My favorite petroleum jelly used to be Vaseline’s cocoa butter jelly but now I’m absolutely loving the fragrance of the hydrating aloe vera version for my lips.

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1. Dove Beauty Cream Bar $1.29USD

I started using dove bar soaps and body washes three years ago and I have not turned back since. They’re so thick, creamy and luxurious. I usually buy the 12 -pack fragrance free bar soaps for sensitive skin for about $9.99USD but I always wanted to try this pink beauty bar version so I bought a single box at the beauty supply store and it works just as well. 

2. Vaseline Pure Baby Petroleum Jelly $5.99USD

Of course I must also use this magical wonder on my body as well. Every morning after my shower and every night before bed I massage Vaseline onto the soles of my feet, my knees, my elbows and my back to keep these areas that are prone to dryness soft and well moisturized. 

3. Lubriderm Daily Moisture $10.99USD

I definitely appreciate the non-greasy thick creaminess of Lubriderm’s lotions that leaves my skin feeling super moist and hydrated. This daily moisture lotion for normal to dry skin is enriched with vitamin B5 and mineral oils which helps naturally restore softness and brightness with every use. 

4. Bath & Body Works Body Lotion $13.50USD

Since I usually prefer to use fragrance free soaps and lotions, I always have scented options on hand for when I choose to indulge in the amazing scents that bath and body works has to offer. This sweet and sensual black current and vanilla lotion from their aromatherapy collection is genuinely therapeutic. I usually use this particular fragranced lotion when I’m having me-time spa days at home and even on special date nights, yes they smell that good.

I hope you enjoyed this detailed outline of my affordable and practical winter skin care routines! Don’t forget, this is a collaboration so go check out Emily’s blog about her skin care routine!

Food & Drink| Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea

Cinnamon Spice

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Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea has to be my absolute favorite spice tea, especially around the winter time. Not only does it taste and smell amazing, it also has great health benefits as well. Bay leaves are rich in iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A and C. Enjoy a hot cup of Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea before bed as it soothes and relaxes tension and anxiety. These three ingredients are best known for improving digestion and they also help recharge the immune system. Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and helps to improve the circulation of blood due to the presence of blood thinning properties. This blood circulation will also help to significantly reduce pain and ensures oxygen supply to the cells, which leads to higher metabolic activity. Whether you enjoy this spicy and fragrant tea sweetened or unsweetened, day or night, it will surely leave you feeling relaxed, calm and ready for anything. 

 

 

Food & Drink | Ginger-Lemon & Clove Tea

Lemon Ginger Spice

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Ginger-Lemon & Clove Tea is a natural and organic way to help soothe those winter cold and flu symptoms like congestion, nausea and sore throat. These three ingredients have natural medicinal qualities that create a spicy citrus elixir which also acts as an antioxidant providing vitamin C that helps boost your immune system. Even outside of cold and flu season, this tea is a great pick-me-up in the mornings which may even help kick caffeine dependency. Usually, because of it’s tanginess, this recipe calls for some form of sweetener like honey, agave or brown sugar, however, if you’re trying to moderate your calorie intake this tea can be enjoyed unsweetened as well.

Skin Care | DIY Cinnamon Sugar Scrub

 

IMG_3165editWho doesn’t love some good DIY fun? Especially when it caters to our pampering and relaxation needs! Have you ever noticed those expensive sugar scrubs that are used in those fancy spas? You could probably even find them in your local department or beauty supply stores, but one thing is for certain, they definitely do wonders for your skin.  Natural homemade sugar scrubs are becoming a trend among beauty bloggers and this special recipe will surely convince you too. This recipe is a perfect remedy for that dry, itchy winter skin that we all dread so much and it also has natural anti-aging ingredients as well.

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Cinnamon Sugar Scrub Ingredients 

1/2 Cup Natural Brown Sugar Acts as an exfoliant to remove dirt and dead skin 

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil | Natural moisturizer with antibacterial and anti-fungal agents

1 Tbsp Olive Oil Fights wrinkles and helps soothe itchy, inflamed or damaged skin

2 Tbsp Cinnamon Mild acne and blemish treatment for sensitive skin and also helps restore suppleness and elasticity to the skin 

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After using this awesome easy DIY Cinnamon Sugar Scrub your skin is left feeling soft and silky smooth! You can even store your scrub in an air tight mason jar for up to five days. I absolutely loved making this affordable sweet scrub and it isn’t just for your face, you can use it in the shower to exfoliate your body and feet as well.

If you liked this DIY post try it, send me pics and tell me what you think! And don’t forget to like and share this blog with your friends. 

 

 

Happy Holidays | Should I Make a Resolution?

 

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I hope you guys are ready for it, be on the look out for those “new year, new me” posts on social media! You know how we get around this time. Funny thing is, I was never really the type to take new year resolutions seriously until last new year’s eve. I had only made one resolution last year which was to live a healthier and more social lifestyle. But wait, before you go assuming that I was one of the many who makes it to the gym every day for January and never returns in February, my resolution wasn’t about the gym and exercise. I wanted to break out of my comfort zone. I had planned to dig myself out of this rut of laziness and depression. I wanted to go on hikes, go jogging around the hudson, take a zumba or salsa class and I even bought a bike over the summer. But the ugly truth is my intention was bigger than my dedication. I had the ultimate motive but I lacked motivation. I allowed my energy and drive to be sucked up by school and work which unfortunately left little determination for my resolution to be resolved.

Apparently I was so sure of myself that I made a vision board, so what’s even more disappointing is that I have proof of all the zest and potential I saw in myself and yet when I look in the mirror, I still see the same boring, lame person I was through 2016.

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Not much has changed this past year. I joined a couple clubs at school which I barely participate in, I probably rode my bike three times and the only time I ever jogged was if I was run-walking to catch the bus to work or school.

Well, it’s almost new year’s eve and I’m thinking to myself, “Should I make a resolution?” I think I want to achieve the same goals I set out for myself this past year, yet I need to work on planning realistic ways to execute them. It’s not like I have some unrealistic pipe dream that I couldn’t reach with a ten foot pole. I think a more active and social lifestyle isn’t to much to ask of myself. After all, I am trying this lifestyle blogging thing, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t have a “life” right.

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So here’s the plan, instead of making a vision board with goals I’d want to accomplish over a year, I think setting daily or even weekly goals would be an easier way to achieve my long term ideals. It’s like cross fit trainers who have their WOD–work out of the day plans. Except I’ll have a VOD, vision of the day plan, basically mapping out my daily and weekly short term goals. Seems doable right? And hey, maybe I’ll take a cross fit class just for good measure. Making a lifestyle change is definitely a process that needs time but also consistent effort. I know old habits are hard to change but it’s nothing that some good old planning can’t fix.

Do you have any new year resolutions? If you’re like me, having failed this past year, why not try the same resolutions but find new ways to achieve them? Let not your heart be troubled or discouraged my dear reader, it can be done! I wish you all the best and the most success for the new year.

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The Daily Post | Pamper

 

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After a long week juggling our busy schedules, balancing work and school, we definitely need to wind down! Of course visiting a spa would be ideal but sometimes, on a college budget, we just can’t afford the frills! This DIY list of ‘at home spa’ essentials will soothe and comfort your craving for relaxation.

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Scented candles are an absolute must have when creating your at home spa. Lavender, vanilla, lemongrass, rosemary and mint are a few of the most recommended fragrances for aroma therapy that helps with calming and relaxation, but of course you can use any fragrance that comforts your senses.

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Although scented candles are great for large rooms and creating mood lighting, essential oils last longer, are cost effective and chemical free.

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You definitely can’t go wrong with a nice warm bubble bath. The warmer the water the better the relief. Hot baths are known to relieve tension and soothe aching muscles while the steam moisturizes the nasal passages and acts as a natural decongestant to relieve cold symptoms.

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Some of the benefits of bath salts, when used in their purest, most natural form helps keep your skin smooth and soft. A warm epsom salt bath can also relieve muscle cramps, pain and inflammation.

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Red wine? White wine? While soaking in your warm bath, why not enjoy your favorite drink. Release your inhibitions with some good ole wine or keep it pg-13 with some apple cider or indulge yourself in a hot cup of cocoa on those cold winter days.

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You can never go wrong with a good old fashioned at home pedicure. You’ve been busy on your feet all week and they deserve a treat. Pick out your favorite color and let the therapeutic magic flow.

Never be afraid to pamper yourself! Its always good to reward your mind a body with some spa therapy.

 

The Daily Post | Pamper

The Daily Post | Priceless

Have you ever stopped to think about what you really value most in life? Not what has the most value, but the uncountable treasures that you wouldn’t trade for the world. Your education? Your family? Your children’s happiness? Your spirituality? There are so many things that come immediately to mind when thinking of priceless treasures, but after crawling out of the pits of depression, experience protests that peace of mind holds the most value in life.

 

We all have had some experience with sadness, whether directly or indirectly. Think back to a moment when you felt your lowest. Be it depressed, angry, disappointed, frustrated, unhappy; do you remember how exhausting that lack of level headedness was? Were you able to think clearly? Did you make appropriate decisions? Did your state of being affect those around you? Did you like the way your thought processes flowed when your mind was at its weakest? It must have been a challenge to come to terms with your inability to accept that you were not your usual self. Whatever caused your shift in emotions may have been the trigger–gaining weight, losing your job, flunking out of school, marital problems, being abused; but what haunts our mind the most is our inability to come to terms with our situation. We’re only human, of course losing a job will take a hit at our emotions, however, can we control these emotions? Can we ever experience experiences without being broken by barriers?

Have you ever seen the calm waters of the Nylon Pool off the coast of the tropical island of Tobago in the Caribbean? Peaceful knee high clear waters in the middle of the ocean bedded on oat white sand; seems unimaginable, maybe near impossible, but it does exist. Despite the surrounding shark infested rough waters, the Nylon Pool remains unaffected and constantly at peace. Shouldn’t we be able to train our minds to be uninterrupted by our unfortunate circumstances? Why should we let our rough waters disturb our peace of mind?

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In the age of millennials when our minds are constantly at work–busy at school, busy at work, busy on our commute, busy on our social media, busy being social, busy being successful; we train our minds to think, rethink and overthink almost everything we do, so much so that it becomes automatic. So of course when we’re faced with a situation that causes discomfort our mind kicks into overdrive frustrating our sanity with figuring out how to be comfortable again. Our mind shouldn’t just be “comfortable” our mind should be allowed to bask in the everlasting bliss of peacefulness; seems unimaginable, maybe near impossible, but it can exist. We should always train our mind to relax, not to overthink, but to think less.

 

Meditation has been proven to stimulate peace and promote a sense of calmness and overall well being. Among those who practice the art of meditation, holds the ability to maintain composure and sustain level headedness in the face of emotional disfunction. Granted, successful meditation may not be accomplished on your first try, however it’s definaelty worth the effort. After all achieving a lifetime of peace will surely cost you far cheaper than a trip to the Nylon Pool.

  • plane ticket to Tobago – $496USD
  • boat ride to the Nylon Pool – $10USD
  • Peace of Mind – Priceless!

 

The Daily Post | Priceless

 

Time for a Change | I’m Getting Healthy

Weight-Scale-PNGStepping on the scale for the first time in 2 years was like opening a report card you know you tanked while still wishing for some divine miracle to magically work up the results you desire. It’s ironic that when I was a size 8 at 169lbs I would find the littlest reason to complain about my weight. Pointing out all the dimples on my butt and now, when I look in the mirror, my double chin screams “fatty!!!” My muffin top, armpit fat, bat wings and my chaffing thighs hate me every time I over eat, or even when I eat in general.

How did I get this big? When I think of my weight, every hour of every day, a barrage of questions that I can’t answer would bombard my mind. I’m not sure if it’s so much that I couldn’t answer them as much as it was my knowing the answer paired with my stubbornness to acknowledge and accept the truth. My jeans went from a size 8 to a size 10 and now I’m bursting out of my favorite size 12 extra stretch old navy jeans. Once upon a time I used to be a double D, but now, wearing 36GG, I don’t even look or feel like myself anymore. I would pretend that I was okay with my new body but why pretend anymore. I absolutely do not like the way I look or feel. These love handles do not love me and I don’t love them either!

Over the past two years, after a bad break up, I’ve depended on poor habits as a source of comfort and pleasure. I would wake up at 1am and have pancakes or a scrumptious bacon and egg sandwich, food became all I wanted all the time. Despicable! Now, thinking about it, I have been using food as rewards for the most trivial things. I got through a two hour class–food, I got through two hours at work–food, I got through my daily commute–food. Although I’d say my eating habits are kind of bad, I’ve heard of worse so I won’t be over critical about my meal choices. What I was guilty of, though, is extreeeeme laziness. Would you believe until about two months ago I used to lay down and eat? I was the ultimate Garfield.

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I’d be so sleepy after a meal I’d have to take a 1 hour nap or I’d probably collapse. My food fatigue went from being occasional ‘itis’ to the inability to stay awake throughout the day like an average person. As I’m writing, I’m so disappointed in myself. As a teenager I’d practiced martial arts three days a week since the age of 12 up until I moved to New York at 21 for college. I’m 25 now, and you’d think it would have been easy to get back on track, but my interest in working out just didn’t exist anymore. I’m tired of being overweight, at 219lbs I’m what doctors would call obese! A change has to be made.

I’ve never been one to hop on the bandwagon or follow the latest trends, but I’ve been following a few fitness enthusiasts who all recommend, with results, three things, intermittent fasting, apple cider vinegar detox water and my least favorite, cardio. It’s 4pm and I just enjoyed my last meal of the day, I won’t be eating again until my next 4 hour food window tomorrow between 12pm and 4pm. It may seem extreme but I’ve seen a lot of youtubers rave about their results which I hope to have as well. My morning and night time routine involves a 16oz glass of apple cider vinegar water and if I’m really really hungry I’ll have a couple nuts or a piece of fruit. It’s a challenge going from eating to comfort cravings to eating for nourishment however I am determined to succeed. My biggest fight is usually at 2am or 3am when I used to have my late night snack but it’s really a battle for the mind. I realized at 3am I’m not hungry but bored, lonely and in need of emotional support. I find that a glass of water and binge watching YouTube videos of weightloss journey stories helps. I’m still working on fitting in a consistent cardio routine in my schedule but Rome wasn’t built in a day right? I’m taking it all in stride, accomplishing realistic goals, one day at a time.