One To Nothin'

Fall Quinoa Salad Recipe

Happy fall, friends!
Even though I've never really lived in a seasonally heterogeneous area, I've become considerably more enamored with autumn since moving to Northern California. We see changing leaves, dropping of temps (not just at night), and legit apple-picking farms.
Last year I got to enjoy the fall season in a snuggly way that only a part-time nanny turned full-time office dweller can feel nostalgic about. Since I won't be scooping up two blondies and dressing them in all orange everything to explore every pumpkin patch possible (at least not while getting paid), I'm going to have to make up for it somehow this year. Probably in the form of food and hot beverages.
While I'm sure I'll have plenty of grown up cider and lactose-free white Russians coming your way soon, right now I'm still trying to ride this clean-eating wave (this might be my longest MyFitnessPal streak ever). While I've been obsessed with soup lately--no joke, I ate cauliflower soup for breakfast every morning last week--I thought I'd try a pretty, autumnal salad featuring truRoots sprouted quinoa.

1 cup water
1 large sweet potato
2 cucumbers
1 small red onion
Goat milk feta
A bunch of fresh cilantro
Dressing of choice

It's pretty self-explanatory, but cook the quinoa first--combine water and quinoa in a bowl over the stove. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to low, let simmer for 15 minutes (I love quick cook quinoa and this one is nice and fluffy). Then transfer to the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Set the oven to 450 and slice the sweet potato into teensy pieces. Fold aluminum foil over a pan and toss the potato pieces in olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, or when the pieces are starting to turn brown. Set aside to cool while you chop the rest of the ingredients. Combine and toss with dressing of your choice. I planned on making my own with olive oil, lemon juice, etc. but I wasn't home so I used this one and it was delicious. 

This was probably the prettiest, most delicious salad I've ever made. Not to brag, but... it was pretty phenomenal. I highly recommend you get on it. And if you'd like to try the truRoots ancient grains sprouted quinoa, shop at Target with your Cartwheel app to get this discount. 

How are you celebrating fall?

Sheep Milk Yogurt Parfaits FTW

There’s a slight chance that all the alcohol-sponsored posts I’ve been slaving over lately (this looks like hard work, right?) have taken a toll on my bod. Homegirl isn’t training for a marathon or chasing after toddlers all day anymore, so I’ve been feeling all the sugar and sitting during the week. 
While I did treat myself to a swanky ass gym membership a few months ago (helloooo, eucalyptus towels), I haven’t quite found the motivation Kensie of 2013 OTN had. Remember #OperationShakirabod? Ah, the good ol’ days.

No matter how many times I do it and feel great about it, waking up at 5:30am to workout never gets easier, so I finally accepted that it needs to be a combined effort. I’m cleaning up the diet. On Amazon Prime day I impulse-bought a Magic Bullet, and it’s my new favorite thing ever. I’ve been making protein smoothies for breakfast several days a week for a while now, and I’m an avid double-tapper of elaborate smoothie art, so I thought I’d give a smoothie parfait a go.  
 Let me tell you, that shit is way harder than it looks. Getting pieces of fruit to stick to the sides of a mason jar is a skill one simply cannot master in the wee hours of the morning. But I digress.
Here’s what you need for two servings:

1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups almond milk
1 banana
1/4 cup frozen mixed berries
several figs

Combine the chia seeds and one cup of almond milk and let them sit in the fridge overnight. The next morning, blend the banana, berries and another cup of almond milk and slice the figs. Place a dab of honey on the fig slices and stick them to the insides of the jar (be patient and let them dry lying on their sides if you have time), then pour half the smoothie mixture followed by chia pudding and vanilla yogurt. Top with more figs, chia seeds and whatever other goodies you may have lying around, and enjoy. 

If you're interested in trying this yogurt, use this coupon here and check the website to see where they sell it near you. I found mine at Sprouts. This stuff is delicious, and they are partnering with the Whole Kids Foundation during the month of September and donating $1 of every cup of yogurt sold to support schools and help improve children’s nutrition and wellness. So it's a win-win. 

Have you ever tried sheep milk? And more importantly, have you ever successfully stuck figs to the sides of your smoothie?

5 Steps to Curing the Adulting Blues

We’ve already established that adulting is hard. It’s all work, laundry, bills, nuclear war-induced anxiety attacks, emotional eating and more work. But I’m about to pass on a game-changing life hack. Are you ready? Five steps to pure, grownup, college-style bliss. Let’s go. 
Step 1: Purchase Fancy AF Tequila
Literally the only preparation you need is a trip to the liquor store. Purchase Gran Centenario tequila, Agavero Orange liqueur, lime juice, and a couple oranges. Bring it home and leave it on the dining room table so your roommates think it’s their idea when you subtly drop the hint that you’ll be making margaritas tomorrow night. 
Step 2: Check In With the Amigos

Maybe send out a group text around 3pm (that’s when they’re weakest) to said roommates, like: “Laaaadies, it’s been a long day. Expect margs on the patio this evening.” If they happen to be amazing, like my own, they might even offer to pick up TJ’s microwavable tacos on the way home from work. 
Step 3: Let the Preparations Begin
Stick those deliciously simple tacos in the microwave and bring a cup of water and a cup of sugar to a boil on the stove, turn down the heat and let cool. Combine the following in a cocktail shaker (or two tumblers if you’re also not a fully developed adult) with ice for batch number one:

.75 parts lime juice
.5 parts simple syrup
Orange slices for garnish 
Step 4: Dress to Match Your Setting

Again, it’ll depend on how cool your roomies are, but mine were all, “Let’s wear matching floral dresses and play in the garden!” and I realized that I’ve once again won the Craig’s List roomie-finding game. 
After you finish your first glass of these margs, you won’t want to stop because a) they’re delicious (even if you’re not a tequila person), b) it only takes one to feel tipsy and c) by the time you’re finished, drink #2 sounds like a great idea and no one remembers that it’s a school night. I must warn you, however, that once you and your ladies get through batch #2, there will be early morning next-day repercussions (just another side effect of adulting) in the form of needing greasy food and ibuprofen stat. #worthit 

Learn mas about my lovely sponsors here, and let me know if you try this fool-proof plan.


You want a pizza me?

Are you guys feeling my room's new look?! It's not done yet, but I've definitely been zenning out with my new candles, rainforest plants and blackout curtains. It's coming together, so I thought I'd show a little sneak peek while having a picnic.
And while we're at it, let's talk about dietary restrictions, shall we? My crew has a lot of them, and it's rough. When my college pals and I travel together, it's kind of a nightmare when we go out to eat. We cringe as we let the server know that yes, we are in fact THAT table. 
One's a pescetarian, one's a vegetarian, one's gluten intolerant and, of course, I'm lactose intolerant. These are the kinds of prerequisites that elicit eye rolls (not to mention the struggle at the end of dinner when we spend an hour trying to split the bill). It's takes some dedication and patience, but we persist (and we l-o-v-e tipping big when the server embraces the challenge). Still though, it makes dinner parties (and drunken late night munchies) a big ol' hassle because there has to be an option for everyone.
Back in college we trashed our bodies and didn't think twice about the pain our digestive systems were often in, but in our late twenties it's a different story. These days we need options, which is why the last time I ordered an actual regular-person pizza  was probably back in 2010. This, my friends, is why i was intrigued when Papa John's invited me to try their new ancient grains gluten-free pizza crust and I realized I could easily order it without cheese online (without even having to talk to a real live person--YAS!).
I ordered mine with veggies and added crumbled truffle goat cheese (because it's lactose-free and I'm fancy), and I love the idea of bigger pizza joints embracing food restrictions like this. Next time my gluten-free friends are over, we'll have munchies for everyone

When was the last time you tried a Papa John's pizza? 


Life Updates

Flo-Rida -- I went to visit my family in Cedar Key a couple weekends ago and we played on the beach, swam in the pool, stepped on oyster shells, drank champagne and laughed from Thursday until Monday when I flew back to SF. The trip was way too short, but it was amazing seeing my family for my dad's birthday (closely followed by my parents' anniversary and my birthday, which leads me to...).

I'm 28! -- My birthday was on Tuesday and holy shit, I'm only 24 months away from 30! I have a lot of thoughts about this, which I think will be another post for another day, but I celebrated all week long with champagne, vegan chocolate cakes, flowers, happy hours, sushi and this weekend we'll be rounding off a beautifully prolonged birthday week with a wine tasting adventure all over Oakland. I'm definitely feeling grateful for year 27, and--at the risk of sounding like a big, fat cheeseball--I can't wait to see what happens before 29. This is another one of those years. I can feel the changes a'comin'. 

GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM -- I booked a flight to Vietnam, guys. For real. While y'all are here stuffing your faces with turkey and disgusting sweet potato casserole filled with marshmallows (WHY.), I'll be shopping at floating markets, hiking in rice fields, eating street pho and basically living my best life. Yas, kweens, I'm spending Thanksgiving in Asia. This will be the first time I leave the good ol' US of A since I was 15. I'm potentially doing this trip solo, too. SO MANY FIRSTS. I just applied for a new passport and let me tell you, I look 0% cute when a Walgreen's employee tells me I cannot smile in a photo. I'm so freakin' excited.

Room Makeover -- The last time I felt inspired to decorate my room, chevron and mustard yellow were viable bedding choices for me and I created wall art with glitter and old planner pages. It was beyond time for a redo. I poured over Pinterest (obvs), and decided to make the most Free People-Basic room of all time (think WHITE walls, rainforest plants and mid-century furniture), but with prints on prints on prints of things that are uniquely, unapologetically me (think: Labyrinth, Nate Ruess and possums). This is the first non-work project I've been genuinely excited about in months, so I went balls deep. Like, I have no money now, which is kind of a problem considering that whole Vietnam trip thing coming up. Good thing I've got six months to save. Let the Ramen noodle dinners begin! I'll post a full before and after situation soon, but in the meantime feast your eyes on the half-assed interior decorating projects I've attempted in the past here, here, here.

Work, Work, Work, Work, Work -- I love my job. Dudes, I never thought that would be a thing I could genuinely say. Like, I saw and heard people saying they enjoyed their 9-5s in the past and every single time I rolled my eyes with the same vehemence I should reserve only for newly engaged couples drunk on love. NOT ANYMORE. It's a real thing. You really can feel fulfilled, excited, challenged and effing PUMPED about your job. People always say not to settle for your spouse or whatever, but I'm here to say don't settle for a shit job. You gotta do what you gotta do when you're starting out--I most certainly did my time in less-than-ideal work settings, but when you're committing over 40 hours a week to a company, that is A LOT of life minutes. Those minutes should not be spent hating your job, bitching about your job or feeling crippling anxiety about having to go to your job again the second the clock strikes Sunday. (ICYMI: I am a writer at Sephora HQ in San Francisco these days--everyone is impossibly fashionable, creative, intelligent, supportive and all-around badass.)

SHAMELESS PLUG: I now work on the PLAY! by Sephora subscription box, so if you want to see some of my work first-hand (and try some amazing products for just $10 a month), sign up here!

Party in the USA -- Miley and Ke$ha are back, guys, and they're both disturbingly lacking in the glitter-puke department. They're both calm AF and I'm confused and excited at the same time. Also, Noah Cyrus is my jam these days. Have you heard this one? I'm constantly updating my 2017 playlist based on my faves from New Music Friday on Spotify, so follow along here if you're into that kind of thing.

I think that's about it for now, but if you want to see behind the scenes business, follow along on Instagram. I've been obnoxiously into oversharing on my IG story lately, so come say hello.

What's new in YOUR life? 


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