Lifestyle

Prose for Her | The Blood Diamonds

bldiamonds

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 | Sunday Lunch

Blackened Cajun Salmon

Since my last Food and Drink blog I have been thinking of interesting ways to incorporate weekly food posts on this blog because, if you don’t know already, I am a big foodie and I absolutely enjoy preparing healthy but still tasty homemade meals. This week I tried out this simple, quick and easy Blackened Cajun Salmon.

I bought a beautiful piece of salmon fillet fresh from my local supermarket for $9.49USD at $9.99USD/lb however I think I usually pay around $8.99USD/lb for the salmon steak pieces. When buying the steaks I tend to spend way more money even though the steaks are cheaper because I’d normally pick up about three pieces which would come up to about $16USD-$18USD. This time I had to stick to my budget so I just opted for the fillet. 

 

I know I always rave about using fresh ingredients all the time, but these Badia Parsley Flakes are the bomb! I have tried cajun seasonings from various brands but Badia’s version is one of my favorites, the not too spicy, not too salty with a hint of fresh tangy sweet flavors paired with the freshness of the lime juice totally brightens up the taste of the salmon. I rarely use olive oil when baking salmon because salmon usually releases its own natural oils which, when mixed with some lime juice and water, creates a nice light fish sauce that I use for gravy. 

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After allowing the seasonings and lime to marinate into the salmon for about 30 minutes, I preheat my oven to 390º then bake for 30-40 minutes until it gets that blackened crispy coating on the top. The trick to keeping the salmon from becoming too tough and crusty is after turning off the oven, drizzle a little marinade over the fish then let it sit in the oven for about 10-15 more minutes or until ready to serve.

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Bon Appétit! Blackened Cajun Salmon served with Mashed Potatoes, a side salad and a glass of freshly squeezed homemade lemonade. 

I’m really looking forward to keeping up this Sunday Lunch series creating easy meals to share with you guys. And hopefully I can get it all together and posted by Sunday evenings, if not it will definitely be posted the next day.

 

 

 

Love on the Brain | Valentine’s Day Ideas

Get ready for those relationship goals and matching outfits couples posts! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! I know a lot of people pick on valentine’s day for being commercialized, unnecessary and pointless, but I have to admit, I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day. Call me corny but there’s just something so exciting about sharing this day with that special someone. When he does find me, I’d want to celebrate that Nala and Simba type love that Elton John was singing about when he wrote  Can You Feel the Love Tonight

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I know we should cherish our loved ones 365 days a year and be willing to prepare surprises just because it’s a Tuesday, but I’d adore the day a guy goes all out for me on Valentine’s Day. I’d be even more excited about planning v-day surprises for him. Although I have yet to  share in the experience of the celebration of this lovely day for couples, I have tons and tons of ideas for gifts, surprises and dates!

Slightly cheesy but totally worth it DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

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Top 3 Stay-at-Home Intimate Date Ideas

Charm your loved one with a Romantic Candle-Lit Dinner and express to them your interest and dedication through your effort, time and creativity. Why go out to a restaurant when you can set the mood in a more intimate setting at home? Think about it, at a restaurant you’d sit down, browse through the menu, order, chit chat while waiting, eat, pay then leave, but at home, you set the pace. No nosy customers or pushy waiters distracting the romance, just you and your significant other enjoying the passion of each others company.

A Daytime Outdoor Picnic is a rustic and special way to spend Valentine’s Day in your own backyard or it could be a great opportunity for a couple outing to your favorite park. This idea is probably not practical here in New York since it’s about 30°, but to all my readers who are enjoying warmer weather, why not share this v-day with that lovely someone having some fun in the sun. 

This Rose Petal Bath with Scented Candles is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Obviously this date is only for those who’s relationship is at that level, this may be a little too much for a couple who just started dating. However if you and your partner have explored and are comfortable with this level of intimacy, this special surprise for your loved one after a long day would really be a great opportunity to indulge in the sensuality of your connection. Make sure the mood is right having your favorite love songs whispering in the background paired with some good champagne or wine and some chocolates. And if you’re really feeling fancy, this would be an awesome surprise addition to a night out at a hotel.

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I hate cliches, but on Valentine’s Day, its really the thought that counts, it could be just a card, a box of candies or even a single rose. Don’t be afraid to jump on this bandwagon! Celebrate your relationship, celebrate and show your gratitude and appreciation for your bond with your loved one on this so-called over-commercialized day for hallmark and love sick cornballs.

Love on the Brain | Learning to Let Go

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I pride myself in keeping it 100 with my readers, so as much as I hate to admit it, I’ll be outright and confess on behalf of those of us who suffer from clingy ex-girlfriend syndrome, that we need to get it together and learn to let go! As I explicitly described in my last Love on the Brain post, my last relationship was a total and complete disaster. Extreme failure.

I would say that I am a great girlfriend, not going without saying that in every person there is always room for improvement, but I must say that I believe I do my best to be the best partner in any relationship I encounter. Yet after investing so much time and effort into building a bond with that sleezeball, even after it was over I still couldn’t let go. 

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This coming spring would make it four years since we broke up, yet it wasn’t until a couple months ago that I completely and officially let that shit go. It wasn’t so much that I needed to let him go, as much as I needed to let go of my love for him. Understand me correctly, I wasn’t the crazy nagging ex-girlfriend who wouldn’t leave her ex alone, it was more that I had a hard time letting go of the feelings I had for him. I was okay with him not being around, not hearing his voice, not feeling his touch; I was okay with him not loving me, but unfortunately, I still loved him. I wasn’t clinging on to him, I was clinging on to the warm, intoxicating feeling of loving someone.

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I used to really be in my feelings for no reason! Thinking back now, I’m really judging myself like “What took you so long girl?” 

Boys II Men rightly said it first, “it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday” yet holding on to the past makes it so much harder to embrace and enjoy the present, not to mention the future. For every moment I spent loving the past was a missed opportunity to love the present; I could have spent loving myself, I could have spent learning about myself. 

Thankfully I have discovered the key steps to letting go of those sweet, tingly feelings that keep us holding on far longer than we need to. 

Step One | Cut off All Communication!

None of that let’s be friends b.s! Come on, if you’re still texting and face timing do you really think you’ll be able to fully move on? Communicating with an ex after you just broke up is like playing hide and seek with your own emotions, hiding from the truth and seeking validation. Not saying that you can never ever talk to him again, but in the initial stages you definitely need some space. 

Step Two | Get Rid of Those Pictures!

In every relationship we eventually develop a collection of pictures. Delete every single one! You do not need to keep those late night nudies, cute selfies and cherished couple pics. Get over it! Delete them.

Step Three | No Social Media!

I know sometimes you might want to take a peak at his instagram or his snapchat stories to see what he’s been up to; what parties he’s been going to, what he had for lunch, to see if he has a new girlfriend… Why? You know that will upset things. You don’t need that stress sis. Blocked. When you’re sure of yourself again, unblock him and share the clapback!

Step Four | Get Busy!

Hit the gym, take a kickboxing class, take a cooking class, find a hobby, read books, take on more responsibilities at work, go back to school whatever it takes to keep your mind occupied. I know sometimes it’s easier to get a rebound to get over an ex, but I have to disagree. That just confuses things even more. Find constructive and meaningful outlets for all that passion and energy.

Step Five | Surround Yourself With Loved Ones!

As much as I wanted to spend all day in bed eating oreos and ice-cream and watching cheesy movies on netflix, I had to drag myself out of bed and get out the house. There’s something refreshing and revitalizing about the clarity of companionship, genuineness and honest friendship. Hit the movies with your bestie, go out dancing and have a good time with the people who really love and share in the interest of your well being.

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.