Life and Marriage

The Best Gluten-Free Funfetti Cake Recipe Around!

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It’s a holiday weekend and time to celebrate the unofficial start to summer! With husband and I’s birthdays falling in the summer months, there’s nothing more relatable to summer for us than funfetti cake! It’s a classic and delicious birthday staple, and as we kick off our favorite season, enjoy my favorite recipe for gluten-free funfetti cake using egg whites!

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE RECIPE HERE!

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Life and Marriage

Five Ways To Simplify Your Work Week Routine

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The work week is super crazy for everyone – personally, I leave the house at 6:45 every morning and often don’t get home until about 12 hours later, leaving little time to actually keep stuff in order. With the increased chaos of life after marriage, it’s been a roller coaster ride trying to find routines that work for my husband and I. What I quickly learned is that there’s no “one size fits all” – we all have different routines and need to really formulate our own based on the things we value most. Although, I hope that a few quick tips and tricks I learned along the way can help you become less stressed and more efficient to maximize your time with the ones you love on weeknights.

LEARN HOW TO DO “ONE PAN MEALS”

These are truly a life saver! Cooking your dinner on one pan in the oven minimizes the time you spend cooking AND cleaning! Line a flat cooking pan with foil for easy clean up and cook your vegetables and proteins together. My favorite one pan dinner is foil-wrapped salmon with lime, red pepper, red onion and cherry tomatoes paired with roasted asparagus and cauliflower. Everything cooks at the same heat for the same length, and while it’s in the oven, you have about 20-25 minutes to get little things done. When it’s done and everyone has been served, simply toss the foil and you have a clean pan underneath that can go back into the cabinet!

DO SMALL TASKS TO KEEP YOUR LIVING AREAS AND KITCHEN CLEAN DAILY

You can almost guarantee that your kitchen and living areas are the top areas used each day whether you’re a party of one or a whole clan under one roof, so if these rooms are messy, it usually just adds up to wasting weekends cleaning for hours. While dinner’s in the oven, take 20 minutes to get things in order – put the kid or dog toys back in their bins, do the dishes, wipe down your kitchen counters and replace the pillows on the couch that have been thrown around the room. I created this routine for myself from my One Minute Rule, where I get things done at the moment I think of them rather than pushing them off, and it takes less than a few minutes to do. These quick little chores make a huge difference in the day-to-day, preventing increased stress and build up for your weekends and more time to spend together.

TAKE 10 MINUTES EVERY NIGHT TO PREPARE FOR TOMORROW

The two things that constantly make me late to work are packing a lunch and packing my gym bag. By simply taking 10 minutes the night before to do these two tasks gave me the freedom to now leave home on time and make it to work (with enough time for a coffee break). I’m also able to make better decisions with what goes into these bags because at 6 a.m., it’s hard to pack a healthy, well-rounded lunch, or remember to pack socks for the gym.

GIVE YOURSELF A HALF HOUR BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP TO DECOMPRESS

We are all stressed about family, work and life in general, so give yourself a pat in the back after a crazy day. Gift yourself with a half hour dedicated to relaxation before closing your eyes. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bubble bath or just watching some TV, you need to relax your brain and your body to make the most of your sleeping hours. My husband things I’m crazy, but I typically am in bed by 8 p.m. and watch some TV for an hour to give my body and mind the time to increase my melatonin, decrease my cortisol levels (a.k.a. The stress hormone), turn off my thoughts, and give my introverted self a little peace and quite. Find something that lowers your heart rate and takes your mind away from the messiness of life, and you’ll start to notice you feel more relaxed and sleep better through the night.

DON’T OVERBOOK YOUR EVENINGS WITH RANDOM ERRANDS

It’s really easy to want to accomplish everything now, especially if you had a productive work day, but don’t overbook yourself. After I get off of work, I often spend about an hour at the gym every night, so by the time I am done around 6 p.m. and start my commute home, I begin thinking about things that I need to do or pick-up, like go to the post office, get random ingredients for various weekly meals from the grocery store and run by the mall to return other items. What I’ve had to learn is that some things can wait. Keep a list during the week to remind yourself of things you need or tasks to get done on the weekend. Once I started doing this, I started making less trips to the grocery store until I was down to once per week, I planned out a route for a Saturday or Sunday to efficiently get errands done and didn’t spend extra time driving around to one chore at a time on weeknights. Obviously, there are times when you have to get something done that day, but if it can wait, try to find an efficient way to dedicate time on your off days to it or gather them all to get them done in one night.

TIP: the reminders app in iOS devices is really handy and you can also share a list with someone else like your significant other so you can have joint grocery and to do lists!

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Life and Marriage

The Best Tequila Recipe For Summer Parties!

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It’s Cinco de Mayo and even though my heritage is nothing even related, I loved celebrating different cultures and traditions! The food and rinks of Mexican culture are some of my favorite and I’m sharing with you my favorite tequila recipe just in time fro your summer get togethers – the Grapefruit Tequila Mule!

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Holiday, Life and Marriage

5 Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts For The Mom In Your Life

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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and it’s about time to start thinking gifts if you haven’t already. Give mom the gift she really deserves without looking like you waited until the last-minute! Enjoy a few of my favorite choices for moms this year!

MAGNOLIA TABLE COOK BOOK

All hail Joanna Gaines, goddess of all things country and beautiful! Her new cookbook brings her love of food and fun together at one table and it’s perfect for that mom who just loves to cook or try new recipes! It’s available exclusively at Target in store and online.

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BOOZY AND SWEET CANDY

Give mom the much-needed break she deserves with some sweet and twisted candy from Sugarfina! This store is my go-to for odd gifts last-minute because it’s a play on the old “box of chocolates” you traditionally give as a gift. Design mom a custom bento box with candy of choice or gift any of the already existing candy concoctions.

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HEART PHOTO COLLAGE FROM MINTED

When I can’t design my own stationery, Minted is my go-to because their ideas are so fresh as a collective market of artists thriving on uniqueness. This heart collage is perfect if a mother has little ones or grand kids to cherish the sweet smiles.

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MARBLE JEWELRY BOX FROM ANTHROPOLOGIE

For the chic mom like yours, gift her an ultra-luxurious jewelry box with gold and blush accents. This gift will surely make her eyes pop with joy! Have a little extra dough in the budget? Add the vanity organizer or coordinating box!

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GARDENING AND TOOL BASKET FROM WILLIAMS SONOMA

Some moms have a green thumb and love to garden fresh floral and vegetables, so give them the chic-est little accessories on the block! This adorable basket is perfect for carrying your vegetable haul, or just your simple gardening tools out and about while working on the home.

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Fitness, Life and Marriage

My Favorite Paleo Dessert Recipes!

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Fad diets are totally in, but paleo is something that I have rooted in my cooking – it focuses on whole, natural ingredients replacing processed food that many generations before us didn’t have. Not only has this style of eating changed the way I look at food, but integrated well into my flexible dieting routine. Enjoy a few of my favorite paleo dessert recipes to share or save for yourself!

PALEO APPLE CRISP

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LEMON BERRY SKILLET CAKE

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PALEO CARROT CAKE LOAF

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CHOCOLATE CHIP COCONUT FLOUR PUMPKIN BARS

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GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN DONUTS

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DEATH BY CHOCOLATE BLENDER BROWNIES

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PALEO LEMON BARS

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Home, Life and Marriage, Style

How To Incorporate Wedding Memories Into Your Home Decor

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It’s been 8 months since we tied the knot and all of our treasured wedding decoration, gifts and memories have sat in a large tub in our spare bedroom still! When we bought and started decorating our home, it was important to me that we truly display these things that meant so much to us on our big day, from photos to decor and even our wedding stationery. Now that our living area is complete, I am sharing my favorite ways to capture our love and memories from our special day in our magnificent home!

PRESS YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS AND TURN THEM INTO WALL ART

We all know that flowers cost a pretty penny and our wedding bouquets are something special to treasure forever. My bouquet sat in that bin for months after drying out, crumbling every time I dug in there to find something. I was inspired by Kelly at Passport and Cappuccinos to create my own pressed flower art. She transformed her wedding bouquet into stunning wall art!

Using glass folding frames hung on the wall with some vintage drawer pulls I found, I pressed my wedding floral and placed it in the frame with some scrap lace from my wedding dress for texture and added softness. These frames from Wayfair came in three different sizes (I chose the 10″ in antique copper) and they went perfectly with the modern rustic look I love in our home!

DISPLAY PHOTOS IN UNTRADITIONAL FRAME AND WAYS

At the end of our wedding as we waited behind the closed door for our send-off, our photographer took a minute to gift us a handful of Polaroids he took throughout the day when we assumed he was taking normal photos. They were amazing and gave us just enough to tie us over until we got our real photos. This was one of the best gifts given to us. Because they’re so small, it took me a while to find something to display them so they stand out. My mom gifted me a set of wood block photo displays that were perfect to fit our style and photos! I placed a few of them around where I felt like they filled that much-needed space, and now we can look back at these special moments forever.

FRAME YOUR STATIONERY OR INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR ART WORK

I loved the vintage look of our thank you cards I created, and printed extra to keep, so why not use them as a display piece! I purchased a 10″ and 12″ frame from Wayfair the same as the frames I used to press my bouquet, and displayed them on a large picture shelf I made. It was perfectly complimented by adding some greenery from my bouquet as a background and using the chalkboard from our wedding to create a new sign (from Hobby Lobby). Adding some antique bottles from Michaels and faux greenery that was the same as my bouquet for consistency made the whole shelf pop.

DISPLAY WEDDING TRINKETS AS DECOR

Part of our wedding ceremony featured a candle lighting ceremonies where we joined our families together as one, and that lantern that we featured on our big day is now displayed in our home next to a statue gifted to us with our wedding date inscribed as a reminder of this special moment.

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Home, Life and Marriage

How The One Minute Rule Has Simplified and Destressed My Life

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With renovating our house, work being crazy and just the general flow of life, it’s been really easy to let things pile up, literally and figuratively. I have spent the last few weekends between painting and projects tidying up our home, cleaning up stuff lying around and just trying to reorganize for spring. Life doesn’t slow down just because we want to.

Now, I’m not one to constantly put rules in place – as an organized individual, rules often lead to stress when they’re not followed, and nobody’s got time for that! I simplify my life by NOT enforcing any rules that would ultimately fail, which makes my next point interesting. There is one rule I follow that is tried-and-true to making my life better and less stressful: the one minute rule. It simply states:

“IF IT TAKES ONE MINUTE OR LESS TO DO, DO IT NOW, NOT LATER.”

This means that the little things that take you an hour to do on Saturday morning can be spread out through the week and give you your time back. For example, take the extra minute to put your clothes in the hamper or washer versus letting them pile up on the floor until the weekend. Fixing the little things around your house and doing the little tasks in front of you can open your eyes to time you can save now instead of wasting your weekends away on meaningless chores.

Over time, I eventually bumped my rule up to three minutes, then five minutes. That stack of dishes in the sink? Do them now while dinner is cooking and you still have plenty of time to kick your feet up. Need lunch for work tomorrow? Make it now and save yourself the money of eating out or take that snooze alarm to use those extra 5 minutes of sleep tomorrow.

Overtime, I found the my schedule became more free to do what I wanted to do. Instead of snapping at my husband to help me slave over the house for a few hours cleaning, we’re able to spend quality time together doing things we want to do. Instead of constantly having to wash one dish at a time because I’m too lazy to do the dishes, I have my choice of dishes I want and a clean kitchen to cook in.

I also applied this rule into my work – I write down everything I need to get done that day and knock the to-dos in order of how long they take (and priority if a larger project needs to get done first). After about 10 minutes, I have finished about 3-5 projects and my productivity feels through the roof to motivate me toward the larger projects.

It’s amazing how great you feel day-to-day when you take a few moments to get those little things done. This rule is meant to be flexible to the individual, so start small and build yourself up overtime as it becomes a habit and change of mindset. It will be hard, but it’s all about breaking the laziness. No one is holding you back or in this type of routine but you, so it really takes a deep self dive to achieve success.

As you begin to enact this one rule into your life, here are a few examples of chores that you can do within your own rule time frame!

ONE MINUTE

  • Wipe down the kitchen counters.
  • Fix couch pillows.
  • Put shoes and bags away.
  • Make your bed.
  • Clean off the bathroom counter and place items in their respective drawers.
  • Hang towels in the bathroom.
  • Clean clothes up off the floor – place them right into the washer instead of the hamper.
  • Pull out meat or frozen food for tomorrow’s meals.
  • Take out the trash.
  • Keep a grocery list on the fridge and write down grocery needs as they are emptied.
  • Push in dining chairs and wipe down table.
  • Water plants.
  • Check your budget to make sure you’re on track with your expenses and bills.

TWO TO THREE MINUTES

  • Load and start the washer. Turn washer clothes over into dryer.
  • Put clean dishes away.
  • Sweep kitchen floor.
  • Load and run the dishwasher.
  • Pay those bills you’ve been putting off.

FIVE MINUTES

  • Dust shelves and tables in main areas.
  • Pack lunches for tomorrow. (tip: make a weekly lunch plan so that you can thoughtlessly pack lunches each day)
  • Vacuum main living areas.
  • Clean your bathroom toilets.
  • Wipe down mirrors in bathrooms and other areas.
  • Fold laundry in the dryer.
  • Put random things away in the garage that were pulled out.
  • Clean garbage out of your car.
  • Wipe down grease build-up on vent hood.
  • Wipe out microwave.
  • Filter through old bills and paperwork – sort it into a folio binder for easy access.
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